There are times where consumer neuroscience unearths something about human nature that feels really, really good. Our clients often ask us, how do we reach consumers in such a crowded media environment? And we’ve found that one way is beautifully simple: care. Care about your consumers, understand the issues that affect them and where your brand can responsibly fit in, and then do something. And this impact is measurable with neuroscience. Take a look at the recent Samsung “Human Nature” TV spot.
Neuro-Insight analyzed the ad using SST (Steady State Topography) technology to unpack its conscious and subconscious effects on consumers in NYC. This type of testing is so important for content that speaks to issues in the social-good space because traditional methods rely on self-reported answers (surveys, focus groups, etc.) that are limited by restraints such as recall and biases, and are further complicated by the nuanced nature of the subject matter itself.
The time series data below shows second-by-second brain response across four key measurements: Long-Term Memory, Engagement (personal relevance), Emotional Intensity (amount of emotion), and Approach/Withdraw (feeling of wanting to approach something versus feeling of repelling from something). The measurements map back to the amount of activity in localized parts of the brain responsible for processing these responses.
Initially, strong Emotional Intensity peaks with a Withdraw response.
The turn happens as the mother whispers, “you can do this,” indicated by Global Memory (the ‘creative’ memory for narrative elements such as themes, storylines, and music) and Approach.
Lesson Learned: Tell the backstory
This item does an exemplary job of introducing the characters’ stories in an authentic way that feels honest. Brands should take care not to skip this step, so as to not over-simplify complicated topics.
The “can’t” theme is solidified during the classroom scene. Approach peaks, even though it’s a negative concept. However, in earlier “can’t” moments we see Withdraw response.
Lesson Learned: Withdraw isn’t always bad
Our clients often hear “Withdraw” and think bad. But in much social good-linked messaging, folks are introduced or reminded of concepts that may be difficult to engage with. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—as seen in several of the “can’t” moments—withdraw drives memory. Don’t be afraid to make people uncomfortable where it’s necessary.
End Branding & Messaging
Riding strong Emotional Intensity, the “Do What Others Can’t” and “Do What You Can’t” messages are successfully encoded into Memory.
However, as the black screen and text is introduced, Conceptual Closure is triggered. Certain elements, often subconscious triggers, send signals to the brain that a story is over and it should stop storing information. However, due to successful product shots, consumers will still associate the powerful creative with Samsung.
The strongest Approach peak occurs as the actor in physical therapy says “I can’t do it.” As the Samsung VR glasses are introduced, we see strong Emotional Intensity, Approach and rising Engagement—consumers like how the brand is integrated at this moment.
Lesson Learned: Authentically integrate your brand
The most powerful moment of the ad comes in when the Samsung brand is integrated in an authentic, actionable way, showing the *real* application its VR glasses have. This moved viewers, as it was clear the brand wasn’t just pushing product—it was addressing how technology (its space) and the health space strengthen and complement each other.
“Human Nature” was also a success based off traditional metrics—according to iSpot, the ad had a whopping 92% positive sentiment rating and a 7.9 Engagement Rating (scored out of 10). The song used in the ad (The Killers’ ‘All These Things That I Have Done’) was the 6th most Shazammed song that week-as viewers listed to the ad, they were actively looking up the song. When the soundtrack is played (due to high Memory Encoding at branded moments), consumer will connect the empowering feeling the song generates with Samsung brand. When social good-linked advertising is done responsibly and genuinely, the creative helps the brand, consumers and the greater advertising industry.