Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Disney uses lab tests to gauge response to ads.

According to Variety magazine, the Disney company is working with a scientific laboratory known as the “Disney Media and Advertising Lab” or “Ad Lab” to analyze audience response to the ads appearing on its networks.


The lab building, which does not include the Disney logo, is located in Austin, Texas. Scientists dissect biometric data about eye tracking (left image above), heart rate, and galvanic skin response to better understand emotional reactions to ad content. According to Senior VP Artie Bulgrin, these data are far more accurate than the self-reporting of questionnaires.

Another technique called “facial coding” or “facial mapping” (right image, above) tracks tiny movements of individual facial muscles. For the future, the scientists at Ad Lab are considering including data from brain wave analysis to better understand how people respond to ads.

The lab’s primary mandate is to study advertising strategies on behalf of ESPN, ABC, and ABC Family, helping those multi-platform media networks to coordinate better with their advertising partners.

Ad lab studies classic metrics such as unaided recall to novel ad strategies like live ads, split screen ads, banners, and transparencies, where ads are superimposed over content.

No word yet on whether the mouse house is using ad lab to pre-test its motion pictures.

 Adweek article on Ad Lab
"Austin to House Disney's Ad Lab"
Variety article: “Disney’s Lab Studies People” by David Cohen

14 comments:

MrCachet said...

Maybe we could utilize the same methodology to gauge the viewer reaction to our art work. ;o) I've noticed especially with the type of ad art I'm incorporating into mine drew positive reactions to begin with, hence the success of the product in the marketplace, and the still-active response to the art.

The market is different than it was back then. If the packaging and ads didn't sell the product, the product didn't sell. Businesses hired good artists to produce good art to sell their products.

Peggasus said...

Disney needs to lay off with the world domination tactics. We are just lab rats to them, getting us to buy their 'Princess' stories, whitewashed versions of reality, and expensive logo-themed products.

Ha, I am not a fan, could you tell?

buchwalderpenn said...

I agree with Peggasus - I find this more than a bit creepy. Kind of makes you wonder what's next... mind control technology to make sure we are wistfully dreaming of their "branding" in our sleep?

David Glenn said...

I'm sure that Disney's just trying to figure out what captures the audience's attention and what doesn't.

buchwalderpenn said...

With all the modern technology they have at their disposal, It seems the older Disney stuff was so much better. It's hard to quantify, the best I can say is that there was a certain "spark of life" that was present in, say "The Jungle Book" that you just don't find anymore.

Dan Gurney said...

The tables have turned:

Mouse makes mantrap.

Laszlo said...

buchwalderpenn - Just track down the old movie "Looker" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082677/synopsis)

An undervalued work from Michael Crichton, which featured light-based hypnotism to control people using ads... And "digitized" characters scanned from live models to create footage purely in "the computer".

I'm sure other companies besides Disney would kill for something like that. It just took 30+ years for the first steps to become reality. :(

Rachael Haupt said...

Seems very Phillip K Dick. Slightly disconcerting.

Claire said...

I think this just makes the marketing tactics in creative mediums more precise and may not leave much room for spontaneity or unique qualities...
I read an article that stated most producers of movies have marketing degrees (not film degrees) and if they don't know how they can market something they are reluctant to make it... they are more interested in what can be easily explained and get a knee jerk reaction out of an audience.

James Robins said...

There is still something fundamentally wrong here....there is a certain 'sort' of person who would volunteer for such shenanigans, just as a certain 'sort' would answer magazine questionaires or are happy to be interviewed by clip-board toters in the street. Most wouldn't, so the results of such surveys can only be out of balance. The thought of ads suddenly popping up as transparent overlays on movies and TV productions makes me feel queasy. I thought such things had been made illegal...J

Chris Dunn said...

Bizarre. Maybe they should concentrate on making good films instead.

Michael King said...

Hmm, interesting tech. But seriously Disney, take a break from shoving 'stuff' down our throat.

buchwalderpenn said...

@ Claire: Excellent point re. the "marketing" view of film making. Recently I saw an interview with an "old school" cinematographer who said exactly what you just said. That in the "old days" there were no formulas to follow, and the result was a creativity and willingness to try anything.

SamLand said...

At the D23 Convention a year or so ago, they demonstrated this technology with an Audio-Animatronics figures that would be able to sense the emotions coming from the crowd. The character's speil would change to reflect those emotions.

Sam
www.samlanddisney.blogspot.com