NEW YORK/LONDON: The nature of luxury brand advertising is shifting away from portrayals of a distant exclusivity to a more inclusive relationship with consumers, according to a new study.

The Luxury Institute teamed up with motion measurement firm Realeyes to use facial tracking technology to analyse how video ads from 24 luxury brands over the past two years were perceived by 1,200 people from $100,000+ income households.

And one of the key findings was that there has been a gradual shift in luxury brands’ communications from “show and entice” to “engage and connect”.

“We’re beginning to see signs that luxury advertising may be shifting away from what might be considered a more aloof and elitist past to trying harder to connect emotionally with viewers,” explained Mihkel Jäätma, chief executive officer at Realeyes.

So, out goes the “look-book” approach – beautiful images with limited voiceover – which fails to make that emotional connection.

Speaking has high engagement value, the study found: videos with dialogue outperformed those with monologues or no speaking at all.

Luxury brands also need to keep things simple, with relatable stories that viewers can understand and follow as these produce a stronger emotional reaction.

The study added that the use of celebrities, a common tactic of luxury brands, may grab attention, but unless those stars are seen to interact and engage they are unlikely to connect with viewers: it’s the story that helps make the more important emotional bond.

Interestingly, the research also found that the highest income bracket was generally far more emotionally engaged across the videos within the study – so highlighting the benefits of accurate targeting.

Two ads in particular highlighted this trend, both scoring better than 87% of all ads ever in Realeyes’ database: Mercedes’ Easy Driver and Dolce & Gabanna’s Light Blue Eau Intense: a new chapter.

“The key to success in luxury advertising today is in mastering the perfect balance between building the desire of the exclusive, whilst making it tangible enough to buy,” Jäätma stated.

Sourced from Realeyes; additional content by WARC staff