It only takes a second girl

How much do you take in?

How much do you take in?

For regular readers of my blog (sure there must be hundreds of you!) you’ll know that in recent weeks I’ve been reading a lot about consciousness.  So an article in this weeks Economist peeked my attention.

The article discusses research conducted by Adam Brasel and James Glips, academics at Boston College.  Glips is an expert in human computer interaction and they conducted research into the way we use DVR technology that lets us fast forward tv shows that we have recorded.  You can view the entire research document here in pdf form, but I shall do my best to summarise the findings below.

The study discovered that even when viewers fast forwarded the adverts in between segments of a tv show they could still recollect the brand being advertised, with the recollection greater if certain conditions were met, this despite the viewer only catching the advert for a fraction of a second.

The study used eye tracking software to monitor where viewers looked whilst speeding through the adverts and found that they focused on the centre of the screen.  They also found that despite looking to avoid seeing the advert they monitored the screen very closely so as to see when the show started up again after the ad break.

With that knowledge at their disposal the researchers then placed some brands inside the adverts.  The brands were unknown to the viewers (British chocolate brands not sold in America) and mixed up the placement of the brand names.  Some were placed in the centre of the screen, others towards the periphery.

The results were quite amazing, with the centrally placed brand names being chosen by viewers twice as often in tests afterwards than the brand placed on the edge of the screen.

I’ve said a few times recently how powerful the sub-concscious is and how we absorb an awful lot more information than we are aware of, and this research seems to strongly support just this.  I guess now the question is whether marketers will start to utilise this knowledge in their advertising.

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2 thoughts on “It only takes a second girl

  1. I think the point was that tv advertising is becoming increasingly fragmented, and with digital becoming mandatory soon it seems likely that more and more people will start to watch tv on demand, when they want it, rather than when the networks broadcast it. If that trend does materialise then the value of commercial breaks will decrease tremendously.

    That’s obviously not to suggest that adverts should overlook the normal speed viewers, they should still take priority, just that this is something to consider in addition to that.

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