Our latest Who Cares Wins inspiration session came from Thinkbox, who gave a fascinating talk on the creative drivers of effectiveness, as unearthed by a study they commissioned about how the brain reacts to different creative approaches.

The research involved neuroscientists giving participants a series of ads to watch while monitoring their brain activity using SST (steady state tomography) – specifically analysing the intensity and polarisation of ads in relation to their long-term memory encoding.

From this research Thinkbox reveal five rules of thumb to bear in mind when making GREAT work:

  1. It’s not about who’s shouting the loudest
    It’s all about showcasing the product rather than trying to sell it to your audience. Showcase the benefits instead as consumers can be cynical about being told to purchase something.
  2. Classic storytelling techniques
    The best storytelling involves a presence of the brand throughout the ad and its seamless incorporation into the story. Maximising breaks and pauses for dramatic effect is also a useful technique as an interruption to the story triggers elevated brain activity.
  3. People are paramount
    The interaction between the people in the ad is essential, as well as who’s delivering the call to action. Better responses were found when the call to action was delivered by a celebrity, as the brain responds as though it’s a familiar friend giving advice.
  4. Music can make or break it
    Music should drive the action rather than simply being played passively in the background. While new and current music can still work, classic hits seem to resonate best due to their positive associations.
  5. Branding’s in the timing
    A brand’s tagline should be both audio and visual as the brain encodes information best when these are aligned. The brain needs to be given the chance to make sense of the story before it can create a durable memory, so don’t bombard it with information or deliver crucial information too late. Timing is everything