TV spots retain appeal

12 May 2011

NEW YORK: Television spots retain a lead over online rich media advertising when it comes to stimulating an emotional response from US consumers, a report has argued.

Fox Broadcasting partnered with Innerscope Research to conduct a biometric study featuring a total of 240 participants.

While "naturally" watching TV, surfing the web, or pursuing one activity after the other, panellists were exposed to ads supporting 18 "relatively unfamiliar" US brands and six overseas offerings.

The two firms asserted that the "connection creation" process was stronger for television, as a consequence of its ability "to engage and sustain unconscious emotional response."

More specifically, the "immersive" setting provided by TV helped spots deliver 38 times the level of emotional engagement than rich media ads.

The amount of time spent watching television, and the form of viewer involvement with content, both contributed greatly to this trend.

Another important factor is that the internet constitutes "a flexible environment that requires consumers to actively direct their own experience", and thus functions in a unique way.

Breaking down the data, the Fox/Innerscope analysis revealed even if ads are placed in a relevant context on the web, such as promoting a car using an automotive site, TV's score was still 30 times higher.

Products carrying a longer purchase cycle were reported to be particularly well-served by television, with automotive advertising out-performing the digital equivalent 42 times over.

Similarly, movie teasers watched through TV lodged ratings 24 times greater than when consumed online.

Television campaigns also nearly tripled the brand resonance scores of internet-only efforts, the research said.

If ads for familiar products were viewed on a Fox programme website following on-air exposure, metrics on this measure quadrupled and emotional engagement jumped 48 times over.

"These exciting results quantify the impact of advertising on an unconscious level when brands are experienced on different platforms," said Dr Carl Marci, chief executive of Innerscope.

"A core component of brand equity is the strength of unconscious associations, which we saw significantly increase when advertisements on television and online were combined."

Indeed, the study suggested effectiveness reached a peak where these two mediums are utilised together.

"We know that advertising in highly engaging content on TV drives sales results, and we felt our online offerings were a supplement to TV's strength," said Toby Byrne, president of advertising sales, Fox Broadcasting Company.

"This study gives real evidence that the best way to build brands is to be in both places with similar content, capitalising on the already high-impact nature of television advertising."

Data sourced from Innerscope Research; additional content by Warc staff