Following extensive measurement of emotional responses to TV ads and the intensity of those emotions, behavioural agency System1 claims to have cracked some long-standing industry conundrums, including how to put a value on creativity.

Orlando Wood, chief innovation officer at System1 Group, addressed this topic at the recent IPA EffWeek conference, where he outlined his research in this area.

System1 tested every ad that appeared in the cereals category over a 12-month period and compared predictions of long-term market share growth, one based on TV extra share of voice, one based on the same metric but adjusted for the emotional strength of the ads as indicated in its testing.

The correlation figures were dramatically different, rising from 0.25 in the first case to 0.81 in the second.

“We have found the elusive Higgs boson of creative effectiveness,” Wood declared. (For more details, read WARC’s report: The Higgs boson of creative effectiveness.)

“We’re able to measure, through emotional response, the quality of advertising; and when we combine it with quantity of advertising we are able to predict long-term growth,” he reported.

“This is the language of finance, this is the evidence of creative effectiveness that CFOs need to demand of marketers and their agencies. And you can bet that shareholders will be pretty interested too,” Wood added.

He further contended that, since he had been able to measure both the quantity of advertising and the quantity and quality of advertising combined, “then the difference between them must be the value of creativity as measured by emotional response”.

In this particular case that amounted to £33.7m over the period in question. “We can at last put a value on long-term growth associated with advertising,” Wood stated.

System1 has undertaken an ambitious programme of testing every TV ad in the UK and US for emotional response, and the evidence from that suggests that there’s not much emotional advertising happening in the UK or US that is aiming to generate long-term growth

Recalling John Wanamaker’s famous quote, Wood observed that “we have a pretty good idea of which half of all advertising is wasted”.

Sourced from WARC