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TV ads: the shorter the better?

Posting in Technology

New research shows that our minds have no trouble making sense of super-short commercials.

While fifteen seconds might not seem like enough time to do much of anything, new research shows that it could be all our brains need to digest an advertisement.

According to NeuroFocus, a Nielsen-owned research group based in Berkeley, Calif., 30-second commercials can be just as persuasive to viewers when they’re condensed into 15-second spots and in some cases, these newly edited ads can be more effective than the originals.

To prove that ads clocking in at only one-fourth of a minute can work just as well as the longer varieties, the group used a technology called neuro-compression. Developed by NeuroFocus founder, Dr. A.K. Pradeep, the technique essentially selects the most effective scenes within a television ad and pastes them into a shorter, more “neurologically impactful” version.

To identify these neuro-friendly scenes, researchers measured the brain activity of subjects as they watched advertisements and looked for moments that triggered attention, emotion and memory in participants. Once these provoking scenes were noted, researchers were able to cut out less effective seconds and condense the ads to half of their original lengths.

“Our brains are so smart, they retain the key pieces of logic, the key pieces of the flow,” Pradeep said. “If you threw out all the fillers … and got to the core, it’s a lot more effective. [Neuro-Compression] ends up producing a better product.”

While the shorter, repackaged ads will most likely reduce costs for advertisers, they could also prove effective for short-attention span platforms like online and mobile, allowing marketers to use the same advertisement for each format.

The group is currently working with CBS Corporation to develop faster-paced commercials.

[via Nielsen, Mashable]

Images: Nielsen Wire, Edwart Visser/ Flickr

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Sarah Korones

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sarah Korones is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for Psychology Today and Boston's Weekly Dig. She holds a degree from Tufts University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure