Nielsen Says Funny Trumps Sentimental Every Time

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Despite less than ideal economic conditions, consumers are spending money like crazy and if you hope to capture some of that revenue than you have to advertise.

One question you might ask is, "How can I invest the least and get the most?".

Nielsen, the television ratings people, wondered the same thing.

While asking how to invest the least and get the most was a little too broad a question, they set out to examine what type of ads seem to work the best regardless of economic conditions.

To do this, they looked at ad performance before, during, and after the great recession. Essentially what they wanted to know was, "To what extent, if any, has the tumultuous economic climate and subsequent attitude shifts impacted consumer responsiveness to various creative tactics?".

They looked at over 4,000 U.S. ads that were categorized as either humor, narrative, sentimental, product, or promotional and value. The study took place between 2006 and 2011. Pre-recession was '06 to 07, Recession was '08 to '09, and post was 2010 to 2011.

The Key Findings:

* Humorous ads have consistently resonated best with viewers, regardless of the economy or year

* During the recession, there was a notable lift in effectiveness of sentimental and value-oriented ads

* Ads focused on product features and promotion/price do not resonate with viewers . . . . even during tough economic times

* The performance of narrative and sentimental ads has improved since 2006

So, if you are looking for the most bang for your buck, go with humor, it wins every time. Promotion, which seems like it would speak to people most often, interestingly loses almost every time. Very interesting. I don't always advertise, but when I do, I use humor.

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