Looking to captivate a TV audience? Turn down the volume and turn up the energy.
A new study from the University of Notre Dame shows high-energy commercials can help brands capture—and hold—viewers’ attention. The findings support researchers’ observations that TV advertising has become increasingly energetic over time, despite federal limitations on commercial volume levels. It also suggests advertisers should play to consumers’ emotions, and not just their demographics and behaviors, in order to form the most effective advertising strategy. The efficacy of the techniques explored in the study varies across product markets and is likely to vary across media outlets, however.
The study arrived at the conclusion that high-energy commercials can be linked to better audience engagement by analyzing more than 27,000 TV commercials aired on U.S. networks between 2015 and 2018 and almost every single Super Bowl commercial aired from 1969 to 2020.
“High-Energy Ad Content: A Large-Scale Investigation of TV Commercials,” was authored by Joonhyuk Yang, assistant professor of marketing at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. The study, which was co-authored by Yingkang Xie, Lakshman Krishnamurthi, and Purushottam Papatla, appears in the Journal of Marketing Research’s February issue.
The team created a framework to algorithmically measure energy levels among the commercials, which they compared to people’s perceptions of the ads’ energy levels. The comparison showed that people-perceived energy levels were related to the level to which people’s emotional states were aroused by stimulating ad content.
“The positive association between energy levels in ad content and ad-tuning is statistically significant after controlling for placement and other aspects of commercials,” Yang said.