Strong Emotions Drive Effectiveness of Ads

Women watch more TV than men and they are more influenced by TV advertising. With such a large group of potential consumers, networks that attract women are looking for distinctive ways to segment their audiences and match those segments with purchasing behavior.

“TV has a very strong influence on consumer behavior,” says Marcela Tabares, senior VP for strategic insights at A+E Networks, parent of Lifetime. “This is particularly pronounced among women. They report being more receptive to messaging and more influenced by TV advertising.”

And for female viewers, environment matters and execution is critical. Lifetime worked with researchers Frank N. Magid Associates, which recently did a study on the “emotional DNA” of programming. The study offered a different way to look at shows that are usually grouped by viewership and genre, Tabares says, by measuring them based on how high they score with viewers in terms of passion, inspiration, sexiness, excitement and 33 other emotions.

The network asked Magid to do a proprietary study to measure spots using the same emotional scale to figure out how much emotion affects ads and whether the measure changed based on the emotional environment of the program in which it aired.

Magid tested 100 ads and studied those ads within 33 different shows to measure changes in brand attributes; they found the environment does indeed matter. There was a 5% lift in purchase intent among women and a 6% lift in ad relevance when the ads were shown within a show, Tabares says. Among women who are fans of television, the lift was 15%.

When ads were matched with shows that were on the high end of the emotional scale, bigger increases in brand lift resulted.

Commercials in shows that score as bold, outrageous and daring, such as Lifetime’s Dance Moms and Devious Maids lifted purchase intent 31% above the baseline. Bold, sassy and high adrenaline shows such as Bring It and Dance Moms lifted purchase intent by more than 20%. “This tells us that being on the extreme end of a powerful emotion definitely seems to have a significant effect on purchase intent,” says Tabares.

Lifetime plans to use the emotional data to help in creating messaging and content for clients doing custom sponsorships. In a recent real-world example, Lifetime conducted research when an automaker did a sponsorship deal with Project Runway that included a significant advertising presence, integration into one episode of the show and custom multiplatform content. It found that Runway scores high on passion and exhilaration. And that aligned strongly with the brand essence of the advertiser. The result—purchase intent up 16% and brand essence up 20%.

Even though more women than men are car buyers these days, according to another Lifetime survey, 67% of women said auto advertisers could do a better job of understanding them. Lifetime worked with research company Insight Strategy Group on a study aimed at connecting better with women.

“I don’t think that advertising being relatable is exclusive to women, but it is different for men versus women,” says Jen Drexler, senior VP at ISG. “For men, they’re looking for these relevant moments, for women they’re looking for a relevant package.”

And details matter. When testing one spot showing a couple bringing home their baby from the hospital, women couldn’t recall any details because the baby was in car seat incorrectly, facing forward. “The women were appalled. Even people without children, their pulse raced, but not in the way you wanted them to,” Drexler says.

A Variety of Women In One Network’s Audience

Discovery says you can find the women who watch its networks when you go shopping.

Beth Rockwood, senior VP, market research, ad sales, at Discovery says that of 38 retailers at which women in particular shop, TLC viewers were above average in store visits at all 38, according to MRI. OWN viewers were above average shoppers at 32 of the retailers and Investigation Discovery viewers were above average at 30.

Recent research for TLC describes the network’s viewers as “Heart Seekers.” Discovery defines them as women who are family-centric, college educated, optimistic and not afraid to spend if something is worth spending on.

And within those heart-seekers, TLC has found three more segments: multifaceted moms, families with kids and young couples without children.

“These segmentations are great to try to explain to the advertisers and the agencies what your audience is about and why the programming you have on the air is best to serve them,” Rockwood says.

For example, the multifaceted moms spend 45% more than average adults on health and beauty products, 42% more on clothing and 32% more on fast food restaurants. They tend to watch shows such as The Little Couple and 19 Kids and Counting.

Families with kids spend more on family restaurants than fast food restaurants and 139% more than average on children’s clothing. Their top TLC shows include Cake Boss and Little People, Big World.

Young couples spend more on travel, especially foreign travel (59%). They like wedding shows, Breaking Amish and Return to Amish.

Rockwood says Discovery has also done segmentation for viewers of OWN and ID. A big group of OWN viewers, dubbed OWNers, are people who are advocate and take action, sharing some of the passion Oprah Winfrey brings to the brand.

ID is all about engagement, Rockwood says, and according to research the network’s done with TRA, they have a high level of purchasing power with a variety of retailers.

Discovery sells its networks as a portfolio, so if someone was trying to reach a particular type of woman consumer, “we could serve up a package to them across TLC, ID and OWN that has the best shows for what they’re trying to do,” Rockwood says.—JL

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.