SYDNEY: When MyBudget, a personal financial budgeting service in Australia, found leads dropping after launching new TV commercials (TVCs), the company turned to neuroscience to reverse the trend.

According to Tammy Barton, Founder and Director of MyBudget, the company had reached out to an agency for the first time, spending more than 10 times its usual creative budget. But to Barton's shock, MyBudget's leads dropped for the first time ever following the launch of the rebranded work.

"We needed to do something," Barton said at the Mumbrella360 conference in Sydney. "My gut instinct told me that the old platform that we're using – using real clients, telling real stories, and leveraging our brand assets that had been in the market for a while – would be probably better than what we had been running."

(For more on how MyBudget pulled expensive new creative and reverted to revamped client testimonials, read WARC's exclusive report: How MyBudget overcame a failing brand with neuroscience.)

Scientific research has indicated that long-term memory encoding at the time of branding or a key message in an ad is a key indicator of future consumer action.

With this in mind, neuroscience consultancy Neuro-Insight sought to determine how effective long-term memory encoding performed on the new, expensive TVCs versus MyBudget's old client testimonials. (For more, read WARC's report: How long-term memory drives advertising effectiveness.)

It turned out that consumers resonated much more strongly with MyBudget's own client testimonials even though the agency work utilised polished creative elements. Consumers simply turned off before the call to action in the new work, resulting in a drop in leads.

"The really important moment is the call to action – that's where you're wanting that high memory encoding. We just don't see that [in the new creative]. But if we look at one of the old versions of their original client testimonials, we see quite a different response," said Casey Kudrenko, an analyst at Neuro-Insight.

Barton admitted the decision to pull the new creative was "heartbreaking" but the neuroscientific insights made an immediate difference.

"We just made sure that we chose the ads that reflected those things, and immediately – from the day we put our old commercials back on the TV – we had a 15% spike [in leads]. Immediately," she said.

"We are up 50% on the same time last year. This will be the best six months in the history for MyBudget. Our cost-per-lead is down 20%. Spend is down and leads are up 50% on last year. It was a combination of not just hearing this research, but going out and applying it."

Data sourced from WARC