That Time I Got My Brain Scanned

That Time I Got My Brain Scanned
Friday, June 26, 2015
Mike Holmes

Recently, I participated in a unique study hosted by Brainsights at the University of Toronto. Brainsights is one of a handful of Canadian companies operating in the nascent field of neurological advertising, or neuromarketing.

For the study, I volunteered to subject myself to watch 75 minutes of uninterrupted advertising. Am I crazy? Probably. But I like to think I helped contribute to valuable market research that will be used to shape the future of the advertising industry.

Brainsights is a Toronto-based start-up that uses neuro-data to assess and improve media content like television commercials, movie trailers, and public service announcements. They believe that looking directly at viewers’ neural responses allows them to more accurately gauge the quality of media content.

I think they are onto something.

The best kind of advertising is the kind that tells a story. We are natural storytellers, and we respond to stories that captivate and resonate with us. Great storytelling in advertising will naturally hold our attention longer.

So what does this mean for brands?

Having direct access to neural response data from all kinds of advertising will allow brands to definitively understand which ads work and which ads do not. From there, brands will be able to draw conclusions on why viewers respond to some ads more than others. By using this technology and analyzing the patterns that emerge from the data, brands will create better, targeted ads that are more relevant and interesting.

Could this be the future of advertising? Only time will tell, but the real-world applications to this technology are evident.

Imagine a world where you actually look forward to watching ads, because they are funny, relevant, and thought-provoking. Or at least, a world where you no longer feel compelled to mute your TV when the commercials come on, or press the ‘skip’ button on that YouTube ad video immediately.

Advertising isn’t going away. We can complain about how annoying and intrusive it can be (and it is, at times). Or, we can enhance it using technological insights based on innovative new research techniques, including neural analysis, to create content that tells a great story.