Beating the brain game: Communications success in a new era of neuroscience learnings

Alida Jansen and Lorcan McHarry
TNS South Africa


Much has been written about how to measure communications effectiveness in the last decade. Reading through the literature, it becomes clear that the way in which the industry has defined 'communications effectiveness' has remained relatively stable over time, with 'success' being underpinned by an underlying requirement of conscious recall and rational liking of the ad (Heath & Feldwick, 2008).

Meanwhile, neuroscientists have – for a long time – applied themselves to questions around how the brain works, how messages get assimilated and what the role of subconscious exposure is. In fact, Herbert E. Krugman (1971) started looking at eye movements and brainwave measurements to understand levels of involvement and ad effects back in the 1970s. The implications of these early neuroscience explorations did not, however, fundamentally alter the way in which the industry defined or measured communications success (Heath et al, 2008).