Sadness sells, according to a recent neural and biometric study from computer vision and AI-powered technology company Mirriad and applied neuroscience company SPARK Neuro. The research, which examined the effect of emotions in entertainment content on brand value, saw significant value increases across all brands and products that were tested. These products included potato chips, Lysol disinfectant wipes and Jeep Wrangler.

“This first-of-its-kind study is beneficial in understanding which emotions can drive brand value from viewers,” said Mirriad CEO Stephan Beringer, in a news release. “Through our findings, we understand exactly where to place brands in emotional context and how to take the impact of advertising in content even further. We’ve also created a comprehensive approach for content distributors and creators on how to best place brands to resonate with audiences.”

Emotions affect how much consumers are willing to spend

The study, split between two phases, explored the impact of emotions on consumers’ interest in different kinds of products—and how much they were willing to pay for them. In the first phase of the study, 900 participants were tested online assessing the impact of eight emotions in content across different brand categories. Among others, the research revealed that sadness drove the highest valuation for the food & drink category (+17 percent); anticipation for the automotive category (+7 percent); and disgust for CPG/cleaning products (+22 percent).

In the second phase of the study, using the emotions with the highest lift from the first phase, Mirriad’s technology was used to insert products and signage ads into content sparking the identified emotions, and 50 participants then underwent biometric testing in SPARK Neuro’s neuroanalytics lab.

Research results show it works

The research found that the combination of targeted emotional scenes paired with product and signage ad insertions in the content elicited significant price valuation lifts for each of the brand categories tested due to the ’emotional carryover’ effect. Jeep Wrangler’s signage ad was inserted into a highly suspenseful scene and showed a 6 percent lift in product valuation after viewing; Lysol disinfectant wipes were inserted into a disgusting scene that resulted in a 22 percent price valuation lift; and a bag of potato chips was inserted into a very sad scene involving a mother and child, resulting in a 27 percent price valuation lift.

“Connecting emotional scenes with brands in content elicits strong changes in value perception. It’s not as simple as owning a single emotion, but rather being present in a range of emotions to leverage the ’emotional carryover’ effect,” said SPARK Neuro CEO & founder, Spencer Gerrol, in the release.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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