Puppies, Babies Warm Consumer Hearts

November 15, 2010

Imagery of puppies and babies can elicit positive consumer response to advertising, especially among women, according to results of a new Adweek Media/Harris Poll.

Puppies and Babies Beat the Elderly

harris-emotional-ads-demographics-nov10.gifWhen asked about a few images often used in advertising to elicit a reaction from viewers, two in five Americans (41%) say that given the options of “a puppy”, “a baby”, “a sweet old lady” and “a sweet old man”, a puppy is most likely to tug at their heart-strings when they see it in a commercial. One-third say a baby (34%) is most likely to do so.

Meanwhile, only small percentages say a sweet old lady (3%) or a sweet old man (2%). Furthermore, 19% say none of these is likely to tug at their heart-strings.

Imagery Less Effective on Men

When examining which image is most likely to get an emotional response from viewers, in general men are less likely to report emotional impact of an advertising image.

Women are more likely than men to say that when they see it in a commercial a puppy is likely to tug at their heart-strings (45% of women say so, compared to 37% of men), and that a baby is likely to tug at their heart-strings (39% of women say so, compared to 29% of men).

While women and men seem equally unaffected when they see a sweet old lady (3% and 4%) or a sweet old man (3% and 1%) in a commercial, men are much more likely than women to say that none of the given options are likely to tug at their heart-strings-three in ten men say this (29%), compared to just one in ten women who do (10%).

35-54-Year-Olds Most Likely to Report Emotional Response

Although all American adults seem equally as likely to say that a puppy will tug at their heart-strings when they see it in a commercial (between 40% and 42% of each age group say this), adults aged 35-44 and 45-54 are more likely than both those younger and those older to say that they are affected when they see a baby in a commercial.

Almost two in five of those 35-44 (39%) and 45-54 (38%) say that when they see a baby in a commercial it is likely to tug at their heart-strings, compared to fewer younger Americans, aged 18-34 (30%), and older Americans, 55 and older (34%), who say the same.

Harris Interactive analysis suggests it might be that those in the middle age groups are more likely than those older or younger to have young children, which could explain why they react to seeing images of babies. This theory is further supported as those adults with a child at home say they are more likely to feel a tug at their heart-strings when they see a baby in a commercial (48% of those with a child in the household, compared to just 30% of those who do not have a child in the house). Adults without a child at home are more likely, however, to say that the image of a puppy tugs at their heart-strings (45%, compared to 29% who have a child at home).

Creative Quality Single Biggest Ad Success Factor

Looking at how much of a positive change in a brand’s sales stemming from a TV or digital advertising campaign results from different factors, comScore analysis indicates 52% of the change results from creative quality.

Other factors, such as price, promotion and distribution, combine to contribute another 35% of total positive sales change. The specific media plan only contributes the remaining 13%, meaning creative quality is four times more important than the characteristics of the media plan in generating sales.

About the Data: This Adweek Media/Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 5 and 7, 2010 among 2,098 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Where appropriate, this data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult online population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.


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