JCDecaux demonstrates likeability and memorability impact of brand codes

Out-of-home player's latest NZ-based research studies the power of strong brand codes in creating mental availability for brands through creative

Consumers both like and better remember advertising with strong brand codes in out-of-home advertising, a new creative research project by JCDecaux in New Zealand has found.  

The latest proprietary research project was conducted by JCDecaux New Zealand in partnership with behavioural insights company, NeuroSpot, and aimed to predominantly understand the impact of distinctive brand codes on all-important mental availability. The study involved 1600 participants, each shown real creative across five cluttered categories: Automotive, banking, FMCG, energy and beer.  

Respondents either saw campaigns with strong brand codes, weak brand codes, or random creative (control group). The JCDecaux team told CMO its experts identified campaigns it believed had strong and weak codes from former out-of-home executions. It also chose brands in categories where there wasn’t one dominant leader or a duopoly.  

These were tested with consumers in a pre-survey by showing them the ads with the logos removed/ names removed to confirm the team’s views on strong brand codes were correct. Out-of-home ads were shown at a frequency of one and for 2 seconds. Client brands were not directly involved in the research work.  

The study found creative incorporating distinctive brand codes, such as logo, colour, shape, tone of voice and style of imagery, averaged a 13 per cent uplift in category mental availability versus weakly coded advertisements. It also found ads with strong brand codes are liked 31 per cent more than weakly coded ads. What’s more, liked ads drive uplifts in category mental availability by 18 per cent. This is because strongly coded ads are easier to cognitively process, which leads to perceived preference, the study’s authors said.  

“Respondents asked whether they liked ads or not – likability was not a metric we were particularly interested in, but we wanted to expose respondents to the ads without them knowing why,” explained JCDecaux New Zealand senior insights and strategy specialist, Victoria Parsons. “Between this and mental availability, section respondents were asked a rage of filler questions like do you watch TV, do you think advertising influences purchases for about 10 minutes. Respondents were then asked across the five categories of creative which brands came to mind first for them [mental availability].”  

Results compared across the three groups showed mental availability growth was seen in both groups exposed to ads (weak and strong) codes by 23 per cent compared with benchmark group that saw no advertising. The group that saw strong codes showed +13 per cent higher mental availability against the weak coded group.  

“By exposing them to out-of-home advertising and strongly coded advertising, we were able to increase the mental availability,” Parsons said. “These were very strong results given they were only exposed to large format creative at a frequency of one for two seconds.”  

In addition, respondents were asked about usage and results weighted to ensure one group did not have disproportionate numbers of owners or customers, for example. Usage of brands in the study had no influence on outcomes.  

The latest tranche of research is the second in JCDecaux’s Intelligence study looking at memorability and extends the study from large format memorability to creative.  

“At JCDecaux, we subscribe to the view that advertising ‘works’ through building memory structures that consumers call on in a buying situation,” Parsons commented. “This study puts specific numbers around our knowledge that strongly coded out-of-home advertising can influence decision making and drive a sales effect.”  

NeuroSpot managing director, Cole Armstrong, said the research made it clear that while there are base points for showing up, how you surface your brand via out-of-home advertising is what makes the difference in terms of impact.  

“The research shows something we all intuitively understand,” he said. “If you ensure your ads are strongly coded with distinctive brand codes, the potential for you to leave a lasting impression in the minds of consumers is significantly increased.”  

A recent media mix modelling study conducted by Australian OOH player, oOh!media, also showed the power of creative and led the company to create its own creative and content hub, Poly. The key insight was the finding that 40 per cent of the return-on-investment of OOH campaign came down to the creative.  

JCDecaux has also recently launched a dynamic creative optimisation offering for clients utilising data to predict the visual saliency of OOH advertising.

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