NEW YORK: A paper in the latest issue of the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) offers a new way to examine the marketing efficacy of sponsorship programs.

Visual-imagery theory represents the starting point for a paper written by Angeline G. Close (University of Texas at Austin), Russell Lacey (Xavier University) and T. Bettina Cornwell (University of Oregon).

With all the action on the field of play, they ask, how effective are programs that try to not just to grab consumers but also engage them as enthusiasts for a service or brand?

The study then uses the tools of neuroscience to dig down into the principal dilemma posed by any sort of sponsorship initiative: are consumers making the connection between the event and the sponsor?

"Individual differences in visual processing and need for cognition played significant roles in how an attendee perceived the sponsor's products," the authors reveal by way of an answer.

Furthermore, they offer, the overall results of their study "showed how attendees who rated the event as 'higher quality' had a higher attitude toward the sponsor's products that were showcased at the tournament.

"That relationship was moderated by visual-processing style; that is, attendees who were visual processors showed an especially strong link from event quality to enhanced attitude."

The article was entitled "Visual Processing and Need for Cognition Can Enhance Event-Sponsorship Outcomes – How Sporting Event Sponsorships Benefit from the Way Attendees Process Them".

It appeared within a four-part special "How Does Neuroscience Work in Advertising?" section in JAR alongside a consideration on the reliability of new neuromarketing tools, a psychophysiological approach for measuring response to messaging and the use of eye tracking in determining audience attention to competing editorial and advertising content.

Data sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by Warc staff