Relaxation sessions, brainwave analysis—those are a couple of the new research techniques we learned about last week.  Sound crazy? Maybe, but you’ll recognize a campaign that used brainwaves to develop its creative and strategy.

Advertising research strategist Majid Khoury was in Regina for a presentation sponsored by the MRIA Prairie Chapter and Insightrix. With over 28 years of experience in advertising and branding research he also explored best practices—starting with the question not asked enough—what are you researching? 

There are three reasons to do advertising research; to choose or build the strongest strategy, land on the strongest creative idea and to demonstrate ROI.

If you’re faced with a limited budget and have to choose, Majid advises the most valuable place for research, is up front—to add insight to the brief or define the strategy.

He outlined a number of methods to assess the uniqueness, fit, credibility and impact on key brand metrics. One of our favourites for testing creative or strategy is monadic assessment, where respondents are grouped, and each grouping is asked to assess only one creative idea or strategy. This allows for each idea to be assessed on its merits.

Majid also shared some new methods being used which were intriguing, including relaxation sessions for focus groups. More like yoga than focus groups, the sessions focus on relaxation exercises in an effort to help participants share deeper ideas and emotions. Many people have difficulty expressing themselves and these sessions can help discover underlying emotions people have towards products or services.

He also spoke to the growth of neuroscience and biometrics in advertising research. There are a variety of methods, but basically participants are wired up, and researchers measure their brain waves, heartbeats, body temperature; all in an effort to understand how an ad or an idea resonates.

Sound crazy? I thought so, then two days later I read that the Coors Light spots we saw on TSN this winter were a result of insights from brainwaves.

The research by Brainsights uses electroencephalography (EEG) headsets to record brainwave activity. The company says its technology reveals how the subconscious mind responds to advertising and entertainment.

The research led to spots featuring TSN personalities, including Saskatchewan’s Darren Dutchyshen as “The Commish". If only research could help with acting.


Need help with advertising research? We’d be happy to share our recommendations.

Posted by David Bellerive. David is Vice President of Creative and Interactive for the Phoenix Group.