Woe to advertisers who don't know which Jungian archetypes go with which digital screen. BBDO Worldwide and Microsoft Advertising, however, do -- and are at the 58th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to say these emotional lodestones can point marketers' compasses toward responses that different kinds of digital-screen devices evoke in people. The results of the study are more likely to sit better on a therapist's couch than on a spreadsheet.
Executed with Ipsos and using projection techniques, picture interpretation, quantitative and qualitative analyses, the study looked at how consumers emotionally connect and interact with each screen on a personal level, according to Microsoft and BBDO. The companies say the study's results apply Jungian archetypes to give each device a "personality." It also sheds light on similarities and differences among the 1,500 consumers in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the U.S. who were involved in the study.
For example, it found that consumers polled think of TV as a kind of "everyman, an old friend" -- an essentially passive "person" that is comfortable in your home. People over 45 are more likely to prefer watching programs or movies on TV (whereas people under 30 watch all sorts of video on their computer). In markets like Russia and China, however, older consumers are wary of the TV, given that they experienced TV as the Orwellian mouthpiece of the state. In the U.S. and UK, people have a strong "friendship" with TV, driven to some extent by feelings of nostalgia. The study found that consumers in Russia and China feel closer to their PCs than they do to their TVs.
The companies say people think of the PC as an older sibling -- "someone" that people can learn from, show off to, and compete with. The study found that people trust their PCs more than their TVs, especially in former Soviet and China-bloc countries, and among younger consumers who can exert control of content. TV is also the screen of choice for sharing, per BBDO and Microsoft -- who say that while the PC is a good platform for younger consumers, "it needs to be something they can learn from, share and show off. It should teach, challenge, and appeal to the users' competitiveness with a gaming component."
The mobile device represents "a new lover," per the companies, since it is the most personal device and something consumers want with them at all times. It is still new, and its archetypal appeal cuts across cultures. Mobile devices are -- not surprisingly -- the screen of choice in developing markets, the study says. But tablets combine attributes of PC and mobile devices, and BBDO and Microsoft recommend that mobile device ads should be "intimate, surprising, unobtrusive," and "help the user fit in and belong." Ads on tablets should reflect how a consumer is using the device: as a mobile device or more as a PC.
"We've turned how we've typically researched multi-screen ad effectiveness on its head by looking at these screens through the eyes of an archetype," said Marc Bresseel, VP, global marketing for Microsoft Advertising, a co-presenter at Cannes, in a statement. "This research brings to life how consumers relate to the devices they use every day in ways that are easy to understand by marketers and especially creatives, thereby allowing them to adjust messages accordingly. There's empirical evidence that when a consumer is more receptive to a message, that message will be far more effective."
Simon Bond, CMO for BBDO North America and co-presenter of the research at Cannes, said results are (like psychotherapy) time-sensitive, and that as platforms mature and the field of different digital devices expands and changes, archetypes will change as well. "What's important is to know how people are interacting with these screens now, rather than five years from now." He added that no marketer has mastered all screens, thus missing the potential to attract "the next billion customers, especially when you look at places like India where there are more than 100 million PC users or in China where there are three times as many mobile users."