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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 paper describes the use and application of various ‘neuromarketing’ techniques to market research studies.


This article posits that challenger brands don't need the huge budgets of established competitors to break into the market - by concentrating on craft and attention to detail, and understanding certain principles of neuroscience, new brands can carve out a niche.


This article presents advances in 3D, VR and AR technologies that are providing auto marketers with powerful experiential tools capable of generating deeper and more intuitive insights which can better engage consumers emotionally.


This article explores how the BBC used emotional reactions to content to refine its content marketing offering and offers advice for brands on telling effective stories.


This article details how Heineken pre-tested a TV commercial for one of its international beer brands with three different methods: a traditional quantitative pre-test and two different neuroscience-led approaches.


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.
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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 offers the video presentations of three speakers at BrainyBar, an event showcasing the challenges and implications behind the latest techniques in neuroscience and implicit testing, and exploring how they are driving successful insights in the world of marketing.

  6. Article

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

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