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Interactive media: desk,

armchair, anywhere …
How interactivity can add significantly to conventional ad effects: Doug Edmonds,
2CV, and Mark Brown and Steven Hess, Weapon 7, examine the evidence

IGITAL TECHNOLOGY IS chang- X Many devices are networked. This

ing media communications. allows applications to be downloaded
Communication effects
There is a fundamental shift in onto them and sometimes the presence of
content distribution from analogue plat- a return path. Both allow interaction Awareness
forms to new digital and interactive between the owner and a network.
platforms. As brands embrace these tech- X Image compression and device capabil- Message association
nologies, increasing their use of and ities mean that richer content can be
investment in them as advertising plat- communicated effectively to these touch- Brand favourability
forms, the strategic importance of digital points. These technologies will improve.
as a way of marketing and the effect of X Digital devices allow users to interact Purchase intent
digital touchpoints are growing for with and manipulate content, putting
marketers, their brands and agencies. them in control. This paper focuses on two key points.
The challenge facing our industry is X New human–computer interfaces We will identify the impact of a consumer
how to evaluate the communications using sensory inputs, like touchscreens, interaction with a brand’s advertising;
effect of these new digital platforms and will make interaction easier and universal. and the value it adds above established
to establish what value they add above As a result of these factors, digital con- broadcast advertising platforms.
and beyond traditional communications. sumer touchpoints are becoming viable
Since 2005, Weapon 7 and 2CV have communications channels for brand own- Interaction and communication:
been conducting studies for clients to estab- ers. Outside the dramatic increase in a theory
lish the advertising effects of interactive advertising spend going online, recent A number of different sources suggest that
media and entertainment. This article out- years have seen the rise of interactive TV, interaction aids both communication and
lines the strengths, weaknesses and mobile advertising and iPTV (internet pro- learning. The process of thinking can be
challenges of these media. From this we can tocol TV) rolling out across the UK. Each of conceived of as a network of neurons firing
draw conclusions about how digital media these conforms to the principles of all dig- in a specific pattern in the brain. As neu-
are changing the way communications ital networks, but most interesting from a rons are used, they become thicker and
work and how this will develop as communications perspective is how these more permanent. It follows that the
new digital platforms become viable for devices and platforms will change the stronger the stimulation, and the more
advertising. impact and effect of advertising. common, the more likely the stimulus is to
The benefit of digital in direct response be remembered. This is the leap from stim-
What did digital ever do for us? is well documented. Leads can be counted ulation to memory. Memories are formed
Before illustrating our findings, it is worth and clickthrough rates monitored. Less more effectively when multiple parts of
noting the structural changes that result well explored is the effect that physical or the brain (hearing, seeing, smelling, motor
from the new digital age and how we considered interaction has on consumers. skills, touch) are stimulated.
believe these will affect communications. We believe that the process of interaction From a communications perspective,
X There are more digital devices. So there changes the state of the user, creating a sig- this supports the hypothesis that incorpo-
are more consumer touch-points than ever. nificant impact on communication effect. rating interaction into a traditional
medium should aid both communication
and subsequent effect.
Identifying consumers who interact To test this, we hypothesise that:
increased interaction with advertising
All able to interact with given ad generates more effective communication.
All Sky households
BUT not all fit ad’s target demographics To prove or disprove this hypothesis
requires an experimental framework.
Sample All fit with ad target demographics BUT
(fit recruitment criteria) This should comprise:
would they interact in real life?
X a real-life context
Tempted X an appropriate methodology
Likely to interact outside the research environment
to interact X an idea of the most relevant sample
X an understanding of the nature of the
Go on to
The ideal sample BUT how do we isolate them? effect.

Register Are those who go so far as to register details a A real-life context

details representative sample or do they have a stronger affinity The most important component of this
with the brand? More experience of interacting?
Lower barriers to additional costs for competition entries, etc.?
‘experiment’ is a real-life example of inter-
action with media, and a control. While

48 Admap • April 2008 © World Advertising Research Center 2008


there are many interactive media avail- of advertising, to see what interaction Understanding the effect
able, many are fledgling (for example, adds to communication; yet interaction For our theory to be useful and relevant
mobile and much web-based advertising); rates are low enough to make them hard to marketers, we need to put it into a
and they have no static counterpart to act to find – and those that are self-declaring marketing context: we need a standardised
as a control, where we require a non-inter- (leaving their contact details in an ad) are framework for evaluating our results. To
active platform capable of delivering a probably too predisposed to the brand. identify the additional effect of interaction
base message. Over time, these new For analysis, we take sample definition a we must analyse the hierarchy of commu-
channels will become established and step further. For results to be valid, we must nications and identify where interaction
offer the opportunity for similar research, avoid polarising respondents by asking should improve communications.
but at present only interactive TV has the them to do something that they have not Figure 2 outlines four simple levels of
requisite attributes of scale and a non- done before – interact with advertising. It is communication effects – from awareness
interactive counterpart to provide a therefore important to compile a sample of building to purchase intent. While aware-
control (the classic TV ad). those who have interacted with the adver- ness and message association can be
While we have focused on this nascent tising but are not predisposed to the brand. effects of an interactive campaign, this
medium, the broad findings should apply Our core sample is people tempted to medium has other strengths. We believe
to all interactive platforms. interact with a specific ad, as they are clos- its power is to drive brand favourability
The rise of interactive TV provides the est to real-life interactors. Since past and purchase intent.
opportunity to test theories in real-life behaviour is the strongest predictor of Brand favourability is a broad, complex
market conditions where we can use future behaviour, it is unsurprising that measure, so difficult to measure. We
research to identify what interaction adds they are significantly more likely to have believe brand favourability comprises
to communications. By comparing a interacted (‘pressed red’) in the past than those attributes of a brand that positively
known medium with a known medium those not tempted to interact. differentiate it from its competitors: a
plus interaction we can identify the Figure 1 shows that identifying con- combination of appeal, knowledge and
impact of interaction on the effect of tra- sumers who actually interact with relevance. These factors all help to reduce
ditional TV advertising. an ad will be costly, and we believe those the ‘risk’ and the ‘unknown’ associated
who interact and register their details will be with a brand. Reducing ‘risk’ leads to
An appropriate methodology too predisposed to the brand to be a reliable, increased purchase intent.
Our next step is to identify a methodology. representative audience. By identifying In addition, interaction can help
The Interactive Communications Effec- those who are tempted to interact with the overcome other barriers associated
tiveness (ICE) approach was born out of a advertising after watching the TVC, we can with communications per se, such as
need to demonstrate to clients the effect of establish a real-life sample of interactors. comprehension and enjoyment. By reduc-
their interactive investment. Weapon 7
understood the medium and 2CV was
eager to measure. Using our pooled knowl- Enjoyment levels
edge, we devised a cost-effective, robust Enjoyment examples Difference between test Difference between those
approach that seemed appropriate. (enjoy a lot/quite enjoy) and control (+/–) tempted to interact and control
In essence, our approach compares Alcohol +5% +21%
responses to a set of brand and advertising Mobile operator +15% +23%
questions among a sample of respondents Soft drink +14% +26%
exposed to a standard TV commercial Public health +5% +13%
(TVC) against a sample who have been NRT +8% +32%
exposed to the standard TV commercial
and have also experienced an interactive
ad. To avoid any research effects, we con- Enhanced brand knowledge
duct the research in respondents’ homes. New information Difference between test Difference between those
examples (a lot/some) and control (+/–) tempted to interact and control
Defining the sample Mobile phone +8% +16%
Our start-point for defining the sample is Mobile operator +10% +4%
Sky households, as this is the dominant Soft drink +11% +25%
interactive TV platform used by UK Gaming +6% +7%
advertisers. To design a watertight Energy +11% Low base
approach, we need to avoid sampling bias. Automotive +12% +19%
This is a challenge: we need to speak to Mobile operator +16% +23%
NRT +19% +31%
people who have interacted with this type

© World Advertising Research Center 2008 April 2008 • Admap 49


ing or removing these barriers, the power the five cases shown, differences average comprehension is enhanced by interac-
of communications can be enhanced. around +23%. tion (see Table 4).

The results 2. Does interaction allow people 4. Does interaction change

We focus on four key questions: to learn more about brands? appeal and consideration?
1. Does interactivity lead to greater A key ambition of interactive advertising The acid test for interactivity is whether it
enjoyment? is to provide more information about a increases consideration scores. All adver-
2. Does interaction allow people to learn brand. Delivering new news, whether tac- tising aims to generate some form of
more about brands? tical information about a new offer, or a response. Responses might be a stronger
3. Does interactivity lead to greater new way of thinking about a brand, can be consumer–brand relationship, ensuring
comprehension? an aim for traditional TV advertising. It that the brand features higher up a con-
4. Does interaction change appeal and can influence purchase intent, brand sumer’s consideration list (appeal); or an
consideration? perception or both. An interactive compo- immediate sales response (purchase
Using data from 15 studies conducted nent can help to build this further for intent). There is clear evidence that inter-
in the past year, we can provide some consumers, as shown Table 2. In 75% acting bolsters responses on these
answers to these questions. All common of cases the ‘tempted’ cell dramatically metrics. In 8/9 cases (88%) the tempted
measures have been included, to provide a outperforms the test and/or control cells. cell dramatically outperforms the test
robust view of the performance of interac- Table 3 shows examples where inter- and/or control cells (see Table 5).
tive TV vs standard TV. acting with extra content has built or
developed brand perceptions. Driving interaction – the trigger ad
1. Does interactivity lead to These examples show how interactive While not our main research focus, we
greater enjoyment? can deliver both short-term tactical and have identified that the ‘trigger ad’ (in
The questions specifically ask respon- long-term ‘brand-building’ messages. addition to the interactive call to action)
dents how much they liked and enjoyed can profoundly affect the numbers of
the interactive experience, and about 3. Does interactivity lead to respondents interacting, and their mind-
their ease of understanding. We found greater comprehension? set once there. When most respondents
that in 13 of 15 cases (87%) the ‘tempted’ In 9 out of 15 cases the ‘tempted’ cell dra- merely expect more information about
cell dramatically outperforms the test and matically outperforms the test and/or the product, or a longer ad, their motiva-
control cells on this measure (see Table 1). control cells on finding the interactive ad tion to interact may be low.
In particular there are some strong very easy to understand. In addition, there Designing communication-rich interac-
examples of a ‘deepening’ of consumer are some strong shifts on this between the tive content that fits seamlessly with the
involvement as a result of interacting. In test and control cells. This suggests that trigger TVC can make the most of the wide
reach presented by broadcast platforms.
TABLE 3 More promotionally orientated content
Enhanced brand perceptions drives interaction among the most com-
mitted viewers, which undermines the
Difference between power of interaction relying on a formula
How much do you think the advert suggests (strongly suggests) test and control (+/–)
often seen in DRTV campaigns. The true
Alcohol brand is a consistently high-quality product +12% power of interactive media is to exploit
Mobile brand is always coming up with relevant products +11% broad-reach media, like TV. Here the trigger
Mobile brand offers simple, straightforward products +15%
Soft drink brand is a brand that is instantly recognisable +20%
ad and the interactive experience draw in a
Soft drink brand contains real fruit +7% wide group, irrespective of how far they are
Soft drink brand offers healthier alternatives than other drinks +12% down the purchase-decision process.

TABLE 4 Interactive effect – a summary

It is clear that an interactive addition has
Improved understanding
a positive, measurable effect on how a
Understanding examples Difference between Difference between those brand is perceived. More importantly, it
(very easy) test and control (+/–) tempted to interact and control drives consideration, showing: that pur-
Entertainment +8% +10% chase intent is affected, as well as imagery.
Mobile phone +10% +14% People are avoiding commercial mes-
Soft drink +12% +21% sages more and more. This makes it
Public health +10% +17%
increasingly difficult for brands to engage
Energy +11% Low base
with audiences. We know most people

50 Admap • April 2008 © World Advertising Research Center 2008

Doug Edmonds is the head Mark Brown is a partner Steven Hess is managing
of numbers at 2CV. Prior to at Weapon 7. He has partner at weapon 7. Prior
setting up the quantitative previously held various roles he worked as global
research department at 2CV with a range of planning director on
in 2000, Doug spent six organisations including McDonald’s at OMD and led
years working as an account Unilever, Still Price, Omnicom’s integration on
planner in advertising. Starcom and Leo Burnett. Sony Europe.
DougE@2cv.co.uk mark@weapon7.com steven@weapon7.com

are conservative and risk-averse: past TABLE 5

behaviour is a strong predictor of future
Enhanced appeal and brand consideration
behaviour. So, for a brand to achieve
engagement beyond simple awareness Appeal examples (much/ Difference between Difference between those
and straightforward message association a little more appealing) test and control (+/–) tempted to interact and control
will become ever more difficult. Mobile operator +8% +10%
These studies show that interactivity Mobile phone +16% +26%
offers brand owners the chance to Soft drink +35% +45%
increase the knowledge and experience Energy +15% Low base
people have of the brand. Moreover, in
Purchase consideration Difference between Difference between those
conjunction with a broadcast medium examples (much more likely) test and control (+/–) tempted to interact and control
like TV (however distributed), it enhances
Mobile operator +9% +16%
both reach and knowledge. Mobile phone +21% +28%
This does not mean that traditional TV Mobile operator +12% +10%
advertising will become redundant. NRT +3% +17%
Rather, we expect to see it redefined, from
an end-point in communications towards towards rational content, as the context is emotional, so not necessarily the most
a facilitative role, encouraging consumers one where they seek information. effective medium for rational communi-
to discover a richer, more engaging experi- This is shown by scores for delivery of cation. Adding interactivity gives the
ence. Arguably this will lead to more new information; in a recent comparison, advertiser licence to communicate ration-
focused TV advertising, as it no longer has an execution run online generated double ally within the emotional realm of TV.
to meet all the objectives in the communi- the agreement for ‘communicates a lot
cations hierarchy, merely the first two. more new information about a brand/ serv- Moving forward
This strategic shift should affect the eco- ice’. A final piece of evidence for increased As we embrace more interactive digital
nomics of commercial production and the rationality is that spontaneous message communications platforms, the commu-
advertising industry’s business models. association is 42% higher for online. nications landscape will change. Getting
This suggests that, while interactive messages in front of consumers may
Beyond TV: how context TV reinforces brand favourability, the become increasingly difficult. Along with
changes communication same execution run online increases mes- this, we believe interactivity will become
Today, interactive TV is just one of many sage association and communication. more relevant.
interactive media. In two studies, we There are two clear roles for inter-
looked at how the effect of interaction dif- Conclusions activity: to extend an emotional connec-
fers across platforms and the subsequent Two clear conclusions emerge from this. tion; and to cut through noise and deliver
shifts in communication effectiveness. First, adding interactivity to a traditionally rational messages. These roles are very
For example with TV, consumers mostly non-interactive medium, increases brand different and largely context-dependent.
interact with their remote control, sitting favourability and brand knowledge, driv- This presents challenges to advertisers.
in an armchair (leaning back); whereas ing brand consideration. Many of the new communications chan-
online they are physically closer to the Second, running the same execution nels are nascent. We don’t understand the
screen, (leaning forward). Respondents online, on a naturally interactive medium, context for their consumption, nor do we
who interact with the same content online increases message association and com- really understand their relationship with
(as opposed to on TV) have increased munication. The big question is ‘Why?’ audiences, so it is difficult to define the role
understanding scores in comparison with We believe the differences are driven for interactivity for each. There clearly is a
TV. We believe this difference is driven by partly by the relationship between the role, but how people consume video games
the change in context, influenced by fac- consumer and the media platform, and or use their mobile phones will determine
tors such as device location, size of screen partly by the different contexts for com- how advertising, interactive or otherwise,
or the different expectations people have of munication. The internet is a medium ‘of will work on these media.
the medium. Similarly, running the same the people’; the dialogue it facilitates has a As advertisers seize these opportuni-
execution online led to less polarising of strong adult-to-adult, peer relationship. ties, the media will define their
response on likeability and enjoyment; This makes it a more efficient rational relationship with the audience; only then
running it on TV produced a more persua- communications channel. will we start to understand how the chan-
sive experience. Conversely, because of the stature of nel works and the role for interactivity. ■
If we are to use video online, it may not TV in people’s minds (among the majori-
be appropriate to follow the conventions of ty of UK consumers), its relationship with More on interactive media at
TV. When online, people feel less negative people is closer to parent–child. It is more WARC.com

© World Advertising Research Center 2008 April 2008 • Admap 51