Sales Promotion headlines arouse as much excitement as
Facile, out of context and sensationalist we know, but a recent
IPM study found that consumers get the same level of
emotional excitement from seeing a promotional offer during their
grocery shopping, as they do from sexual arousal. This
delightful premise was based on the emotional response of 50 people
who were shown packs that featured promotions and packs that
didn't. Their reaction was measured by iMotions technology which uses
sophisticated metrics (Eye Tracking, Reading and Emotion) to
determine the response to visual stimulus from the sub-conscious
through to attention and engagement.
Get your basket love, you've scored
Emotional responses are measured on a scale of 0 to 10 (in the
absence of a name we'll call it the eMote scale) where 10 is
associated with extreme trauma and 0 is linked to complete
indifference (e.g. England footballers during the World Cup). Three
promotions in particular registered a score in the range achieved
through viewing pornography (5 to 7 eMotes). Marmite was
highest with it's Free Horrid Henry audio book offer at 5.8 eMotes.
Other campaigns which caused similar arousal were Kingsmill's
Wallace and Gromit collectibles and Cravendale's coupon campaign.
Before you rush out to your local supermarket, all these promotions
are long since expired. However, we can show you one of these
hugely erotic promotions here. So, for those of a highly charged
disposition, look away now.
Peeling back the layers
Well this is all very titillating for us marketeers, but we find
ourselves wondering how many eMotes do other mundane activities
register? Crossing a busy road, going down a fast lift, unwrapping
a chocolate bar, answering the door to a takeaway delivery, winning
a bet, making it onto a departing train - we could go on. Knowing
the eMote score for routine chores would help contextualise the
What controls were used in the promotion? People may have been
hungry and absolutely love Marmite. Were there non-promotional
packs of Marmite used in the study to measure the benchmark eMote
score? We just don't know. Surely the increase in eMotes
caused by the promotion would be more relevant?
What can we learn?
- The right promotional headline can be as stimulating as
- Promotions can keep people engaged for longer than the 2
seconds it typically takes consumers to make a buying decision -
think of it as a form of promotional viagra!
- Could further study lead to a definitive formula for which
promotions do 'turns people on'?
- They really need a name for the eMote scale.
- Look out for anoraked individuals in the supermarket aisles -
they maybe enjoying their shopping a little too much.