Neuroscience and pre-testing: Perfection through brainwaves

Steve Ogborn
ICM Research

Post-campaign studies using neuroscience show that Aviva's 'Get the Aviva deal' advertising execution could be improved through small changes to the creative.

After Christmas 2010, Aviva launched the latest incarnation of its successful 'Get the Aviva deal' television campaign for its insurance products. Prior to airing, the commercial was evaluated using focus groups and ICM's online quantitative tests; the industry-standard methodologies. These traditional approaches measure conscious responses to the advertising. In February of 2011, the opportunity arose to re-evaluate the ad using a neuroscience technique; these approaches allow subconscious responses to be understood. This project gave Aviva the opportunity to compare what each method brings to advertising evaluation.

Most TV ad pre-testing is confined to measures provided by the conscious brain; things like comprehension, appeal, standout and 'liking' or 'disliking'. Historically, neuroscience techniques have been expensive and cumbersome to deploy. As the technology developed and research costs became more manageable, neuroscience has entered the pre-testing arsenal of researchers and their clients. Most excitingly, neuroscience can measure the extent to which communication messages or ideas are encoded into a recipient's long-term memory. If a message doesn't make it into the recipient's long-term memory, it simply won't influence future purchase consideration.

The Aviva campaign