Bolt Insight | It’s a People Thing: Uncovering Consumer Reaction to Halifax’s latest Campaign with Creative Neuro
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Being in the business of helping businesses ‘sit next to’ their customers, we’re always on hand to provide brands with agile consumer insight to help supercharge their ideas and optimise their innovations.

So in the latest instalment of our series on Creative Neuro ad testing, we turned our latest insight tech on Halifax – an institution in the UK when it comes to high street banks and building societies.

Specifically – their new ‘It’s a People Thing’ campaign – an ad featuring a drone like camera swooping into the homes of everyday people in the UK, giving us a glimpse into the ordinary but often precious moments of their private lives.

Neuromarketing, Digital Market Research, Concept Test, Product Launch, Marketing, Campaign, Campaign Analysis, Consumer Insights, Consumer Research, qualitative research, qual research, customer insights

Wait – Creative Neuro What-Now?….

Yes – we get that a lot. So let’s break it down…

Creative Neuro is our cutting-edge digital revamp of traditional neuromarketing. But while traditional methods require large laboratories, massive budgets, and even bigger lead times, our digital solution is instant, scalable, and exponentially more affordable. So how does it work?…

Through utilising cutting edge eye tracking, facial coding algorithms, and measuring implicit reaction time, we’re able to measure where people’s attention is moment to moment, and analyse and log their reactions micro expressions.

All this gives us (and more importantly our clients) the keys to powerfully unlock people’s unconscious, immediate responses to an ad or campaign, and understand how it really makes them feel – a crucial insight in terms of knowing if and how an ad was actually effective or not.

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Neuromarketing, Digital Market Research, Concept Test, Product Launch, Marketing, Campaign, Campaign Analysis, Consumer Insights, Consumer Research, qualitative research, qual research, customer insights

The Driving Forces of Our Lives

As humans, we’re hard wired to move towards pleasure, and away from pain. This is neuroscience 101 for any marketer worth their salt, and in fact the game in advertising has long been to get us to quickly and unconsciously link pleasure to using whatever is being advertised, and pain from either not using it, or having the absence of it.

It seems disarmingly simple, but it works. But to truly be a cut above the noise, it has to be done with flair, nuance, and ideally without people consciously noticing

This is where Creative Neuro can be the difference between thinking an ad is effective – and knowing it is. The approach helps unlock these core unconscious triggers and motivators of pain and pleasure – and understand if and how they’re being activated and triggered effectively.

Precision tracking a range of emotions such as happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, and contempt, the technology helps give an under the skin, unprecedented look into the real efficacy of brand campaigns, messaging, and product launches.

All people need is a laptop, a webcam, and a couple of minutes to watch the ad. Our automated solution does the rest. And for brands? All they need is an awesome ad, campaign, or creative to test.

Sounds simple? That’s because – on the surface at least – it is. Under the hood there’s obviously loads of super clever tech stuff happening (and don’t worry – obviously we have top secret underground bunkers dotted about the globe with hardcore analyst science guys peering at screens and nodding).

But ultimately, all that really matters to our clients, and ultimately to us as well, is the results – the actionable insights, and the awesome, supercharged growth they can take from the second by second, scene by scene analysis on our interactive Creative Neuro dashboards.

Neuromarketing, Digital Market Research, Concept Test, Product Launch, Marketing, Campaign, Campaign Analysis, Consumer Insights, Consumer Research, qualitative research, qual research, customer insights

Halifax: It’s a People Thing

So – on to the campaign in question…

Halifax’s new ‘It’s a People Thing’ campaign takes us inside and through the keyhole of the homes of the British public. The camera zooms through windows and walls to reveal snapshots of the lives of the people inside – documenting the micro-moments that make up the stories of our lives.

As the ariel camera zooms drone-like through houses – micro-stories weave together, pressing different emotional buttons along the way, placing the brand as a familiar companion to the everyday moments that make up our lives.

It’s a long way from Howard in his iconic glasses spontaneously singing and dancing through the streets (nostalgic shout out to Howard…) , but it does keep in line with Halifax’s longstanding down to earth and ‘for and of the people’ type brand image.

But how did the new campaign really resonate with people? How did the more people centred, ‘story of our lives’ angle engage people on an emotional level as intended?…

To get a deeper understanding of people’s responses and reactions to the ad, and what exactly was working (and maybe not working so well) in the ad, we tested it across a range of consumers in the UK.

Utilising eye tracking, implicit reaction time tracking, and facial coding, we were able to uncover the unconscious emotional responses of people as they were watching the ad, and which precise moments generated the most positive and negative reactions, frame by frame – insights that would previously have been impossible without the use of Creative Neuro analysis.

And the best part? All of this took a fraction of the time traditional neuromarketing would take (and a fraction of the cost too)…

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Neuromarketing, Digital Market Research, Concept Test, Product Launch, Marketing, Campaign, Campaign Analysis, Consumer Insights, Consumer Research, qualitative research, qual research, customer insights

Insights to Intel…

So how did the human micro-story focus of this campaign perform?

Overall, results showed strong positive emotion scores of 35.27, well above industry averages. Happiness scores peaked 25 seconds in during the ‘it’s a time to rest thing’ scene where an elderly man seen smiling is being helped by a care worker while resting, and also during the scene 30 seconds in where a couple are seen finally having the house to themselves as the woman throws the man onto the bed  (we’ll leave it up to you to join the remaining dots here).

But the ad wasn’t just looking to press one emotional button. Halifax wanted to touch on the emotional diaspora of everyday human joys, sorrows, and troubles – with the underlying brand message being – we’re there to support you, through the good times, and the bad.

And to this end – the ad saw relatively strong sadness scores as well – at 20.59 overall.

This seemingly high sadness score is mainly driven by a peak at precisely the moment where, as the camera zooms in through another window, a couple are seen arguing (it would seem over bills and finances) with the caption ‘it’s a feeling the strain thing’ running across the screen – before the emotional rollercoaster polarises again back to a happiness spike with the ‘it’s a housewarming thing’ scene showing a group of people celebrating, the light in the frame becoming noticeably warmer once again.

The end of the ad sees a somewhat unexpected spike of negative emotion as the camera goes through a final wall to reveal a rather sterile looking office. But then positive emotions spike once again as a Halifax customer service agent smiles, and the ‘Halifax’ logo finally comes up on the screen.

Here – for the viewer – the penny drops, and they finally get to see what the advert was for. The dopamine spike of the mystery finally being revealed is evident in the strong spike of positive emotion at that moment.

And using Creative Neuro – we can track and measure this, scene by scene, frame by frame.

So did ‘Its a People Thing’ actually resonate with…well…people?

Overall, with positive emotion scores weighing in well above industry average, and polarised emotions of sadness being spiked at precisely the intended moments, it seems that the more human centred ‘moments of our lives’ angle of the ad was a success in creating a variety of emotional responses and engagement with the test group.

Halifax wanted to create a sense of trust and of ‘being there’ with people through the good times and the bad, and to draw people into micro-moments of everyday folk living their lives – and giving a peak into what’s going on behind closed doors.

The ad effectively taps into our innate curiosity of the hidden lives of others – which inherently drives engagement and attention with the film, as well as positioning Halifax as a trusted brand that cares about the ordinary lives of ordinary people. And to this end – in terms of emotional engagement and creative strong neuro associations of people to the brand – their campaign was undoubtedly a success.

Whether you’re looking to launch a new campaign or run a concept or claim test, our digital neuro-marketing solution can help give you powerful keys to unlock the unconscious anchors, associations, and reactions that your creatives are creating and communicating to people – and ultimately help you maximise the impact of your next campaign for your target audience.

Interested? To book a demo, just get in touch: [email protected]

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