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Neuroscience is the application of scientific understanding about how the human brain works and its decision-making processes to marketing and consumer research. Unlike conventional marketing research, neuroscientific techniques measure consumers’ unconscious emotional responses which can uncover valuable insights and purchase triggers. Techniques include neurometrics, which measure brain activity, and biometrics, which measure levels of emotional arousal. Marketers are using these in a number of areas, including brand equity studies, product- and ad-testing.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

This paper examines the field of neuromarketing in detail. It looks at the methods currently in day-to-day use for measuring non-articulated consumer response. These range from highly technical applications such as fMRI to those that measure reactions in other parts of the body.
Findings and recommendations from the Advertising Research Foundation's Neuro 2 study.
Why buyers in search of neuromarketing solutions often face a series of daunting decisions.
Advances in neuroscience marketing research, how brands are using them and what challenges remain.
New developments in market research techniques, and how brands are taking these techniques on board.

Case Study

This case study shows how Kenco, a coffee brand, designed a brand purpose campaign that delivered social good and increased commercial sales in the UK.

Case Study

This case study shows how John Lewis, a UK retailer, successfully launched four Christmas campaigns that consolidated its advertising's status as an iconic Christmas event.

Case Study

This case study describes how the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) in Australia created an "emotion trailer" to increase audience engagement and ticket sales.

Case Study

This case study describes how BBC Worldwide embraced innovation to understand what audiences want across 200 countries, and how to capture and communicate complicated emotions in a way that both investors and creatives will value.

Case Study

This case study describes how Revlon, the cosmetics company, used an innovative approach to revolutionise its understanding of the UK cosmetics shopper.

Case Study

This case study shows how Dove, a chocolate brand, revived interest in its product using a psychological technique to recreate the product's pleasurable sensation.
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Research Paper

Advertising researchers have highlighted how electrophysiological methods can improve the understanding of consumers’ emotional experiences, yet few published methodological studies draw the necessary guidelines to obtain reliable results.

Research Paper

This study demonstrates the potential of certain neurological measures—in particular, biometrics—to identify television advertisements that successfully lead to sales.


This paper describes how Marks & Spencer, the UK fashion and food retailer, reviewed the layout and navigability of the formal menswear department in order to align with the ways in which people naturally shop.


This article explores how ITV, a UK commercial broadcaster, used a proprietary implicit research tool to demonstrate why financial brands would benefit from a continued partnership with the network's soap operas.


This paper describes a UK research project by Egmont Publishing to explore whether time-poor parents still read to their children and, if so, whether they use a digital device or a print book, and the emotional drivers around this activity.


This paper describes how BBC Global News Ltd used an innovative research methodology to measure emotional engagement to content-led marketing and how the research has impacted on the industry and BBC Global News Ltd's content marketing offering.


This article explores a UK study by the IAB, representing the advertising interests of digital media companies, into the areas of peak media engagement in a typical evening, demonstrating that at least half of those are not TV-related.
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  1. Article

    Scholarship on advertising has traditionally focused on the effects of advertising on sales and proving that advertising is effective; less attention has been paid to looking at how the effects of advertising come about, especially when it comes to the most cost effective way of driving growth and sales.
  2. Article

    This article explains how immersion in a digital world changes how the brain processes content and how brands can understand this science when marketing to 'digital native' millennials and centennials.

  3. Article

    This article aims to determine the effectiveness of popular content-led marketing solutions, revealing that they can deliver positive emotional engagement and a dramatic impact on advertising brands.

  4. Article

    This article provides marketers with information and guidance about using behavioural economics (BE) to inform marketing strategies.

  5. Article

    This article challenges commonly held views in order to provide a more nuanced perspective on the concepts of brand differentiation and salience.

  6. Article

    This article explains how brands can use behavioural economics to be more successful.

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