Bauer Media brain study finds single brand cross-platform campaigns pay off

Advertising is more effective when it is run cross-platform across a single media brand rather than on different brands on each platform, according to a neuroscience study from Bauer Media's Heat magazine.

Bauer: runs brain study
Bauer: runs brain study

The research involved hooking up 180 people to headsets and measuring electrical activity in their brains, using a technique called steady state topography.

The people looked at advertising campaigns running across Heat's media platforms, which include print, online, TV and radio. They also looked at the same campaign running across a mixed selection of competitor brands, which varied on each platform.

It was found that when the participants looked at the campaign linked across Heat's brand, a far higher level of activity was seen in most brain regions than for the multimedia campaign across mixed media brands.

The consistent Heat branding achieved a particularly high level of brain activity in the region of the left brain, which Bauer claims is associated with attention, scoring in the highest 10 per cent of all responses.

Meanwhile, the campaign across a selection of mixed media brands only scored in the top 27 per cent of all responses for 'left brain attention'.

Martin Diamond, the research director at Bauer, said: "The research matched exactly the same ads in terms of where you saw them on the medium, whether that was in print or online. The key difference was the editorial environment."

In addition, the findings showed a "priming" effect, in which participants who had already looked at the print magazine had a stronger brain response to ads on other Heat platforms than if they had not looked at the magazine.

The research used a total of five real campaigns including two cosmetics brands, a fashion brand, a confectionary brand and a drinks brand.

Clare Chamberlain, the sales director of London lifestyle at Bauer, said: "For us the exciting thing is it demonstrates a real opportunity for multiplatform activity and a benefit for advertisers in advertising across all of Heat. We've always suspected that, but we've never had anything that proved it in the past.

"Heat is our first 360-degree brand. We hope to grow the number of advertisers using multiplatform. More than 80 per cent all of our campaigns run across print and digital, while far fewer use the radio and TV, which are new areas for us. "

Heat's researchers claim the level of brain response is important, especially "emotional response", which they found is positively correlated to memory and can, in turn, lead to a consumer making a purchase in response to the ad.

Heat's various media platforms also triggered electrical activity in different regions of the brain. Heat magazine prompted a strong response for "attention" and "emotion", while Heat radio did well in the brain region associated with 'desirability', according to Bauer.

Meanwhile, Heat's online platform scored well for "attention" and "memory". Heat television performed well for '"memory" and "engagement".

Heat will be presenting the research to media agencies in October.

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