Can A Viewer's Brain Provide Useful Data For Marketers And TV Networks?

What do people really think about TV commercials? Seems that TV networks and advertisers have been trying to figure that out forever  -- with tests, studies, and special panels.

Now two TV network media companies will be trying again, with new labs: Viacom and Comcast’s NBCUniversal.

These labs will focus specifically on brain activity -- which has been in vogue recently among those who want to get closer to viewer motivations. Older tests might use eye-tracking and other biometrics measures.

Much has been made about “big data” that marketers, or third-party measurers, seem to rally around in the hopes of getting a clearer picture of consumer feelings and decisions.

Now add all the data points of someone’s brain activity. Even then, other mysteries still abound. "Just because their brain cells are lighting up during a commercial, doesn't necessarily mean they are going to buy the product. They may simply find the commercial engaging," Beth Rockwood, senior vice president of market resources and advertising sales research at Discovery Communications, told Reuters.



Now, all of that might be good news for TV programmers like NBCUniversal, which in its Orlando, Fla. lab,  is currently looking for the best-performing scenes of a TV series to put into on-air TV promos.

But the question for many: How can a panel of viewers, wired up with current technology, be made to yield ongoing data on a daily, weekly or other timely basis?

Perhaps with more narrowly targeted efforts, TV networks and marketers may get some consistent tangible results from brain activity. Otherwise they could get lost in ever bigger ocean of too much consumer information.

2 comments about " Can A Viewer's Brain Provide Useful Data For Marketers And TV Networks?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 5, 2015 at 4:06 p.m.

    This kind of thing has been tried before and there's no doubt that one can track brainwave responses to program content, ads, etc. and get some very interesting findings. However, in the past  brainwave researchers were limited by a lack of funding ---and time----so they could develop and ducument normative behavior patterns that allowed users of the data to  make meaningful interpretations. As beth poined out, a particular kind or pattern of brainwave activity may signify viewer engagement with some aspects of a commercial's execution---perhaps the most entertaining portions---but this does not necessarily translate into consumer motivation and getting people to buy the product. Until a solid body of evidence that not only tracks brainwave activity but shows the results in terms of brand awareness, positive buying intent, actual sales, etc. is in hand---which will take a good deal of effort, money and time to develop, we will remain largely in the dark.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 5, 2015 at 5:48 p.m.

    "We are begging to be controlled."

Next story loading loading..