LONDON: Many marketers are too focused on simply getting their proposition across to consumers and are neglecting the effects of an emotional appeal, and in particular the impact that the right music can have on an ad's effectiveness.

In the current issue of Admap, Les Binet, head of effectiveness at the adam&eveDDB agency, Daniel Müllensiefen, a senior lecturer in the Psychology department at Goldsmiths College, and Gawain Morrison, CEO and co-founder of Sensum, outline their latest research in this area.

They build on previous research that suggested getting the music right can dramatically increase the effectiveness of an ad, their new hypothesis being that removing the music track from an ad should significantly mute the emotional response.

Using skin conductance responses – a technique that forms the basis of lie detector tests – they tested combinations of 20 TV ads, ten chosen for their proven effectiveness in business terms and ten from matching categories but judged less effective on the same criteria.

In addition to this, participants also rated the ads using a more usual research technique – a questionnaire which measured advertising recall, branding, communication, etc., and which also invited them to indicate their subjectively felt emotions on a non-verbal rating scale.

The analysis showed very simple and clear effects, the authors reported: "Effective ads triggered significantly more and stronger emotional reactions; and the same ads with music were experienced as significantly more emotional than with the music track removed."

And when they considered the scores from the 'traditional' research questionnaire did not differ significantly between effective and ineffective ads, they argued that this demonstrated that "emotional responses are much more strongly associated with ad effectiveness than rational awareness of the ad message".

In other words, "advertising 'that gets under your skin' and is targeting the senses and emotions can result in large commercial effects".

Data sourced from Admap