The ultimate mood boost for advertisers

28 Jun 2011  |  Simon Redican 
Simon Redican

According to Simon Redican, radio, TV and online all lift people's levels of happiness and energy on a daily basis - all day, every day...

Regardless of political beliefs, I don't suppose most of us who work in the media industry place contributing to the emotional wellbeing of UK PLC as the key driver behind our choice of career. We tend to think more worthy professions like teachers, nurses and the military provide such a selfless service for the greater good.

But think again self-centred, capitalist media professional!

The latest research conducted by the RAB and Sparkler, shows that the UK's three largest media (TV, Radio and Online) all play a crucial role in lifting the mood of the nation and making people feel happier and more energetic. And we are not just talking about major events like the Royal Wedding or the Champions League final. Our study found that Radio, TV and online all lift people's levels of happiness and energy on a daily basis - all day, every day.

So why did the RAB want to look into media's ability to cheer up the country?

Firstly we believed that media's ability to lift the mood was a powerful tool for advertisers. Academic studies have shown that happy and energetic people are more susceptible to advertising messages. They process these messages heuristically rather than systematically - that is with an emotional connection. Also the media context is more important than simply putting out rational, content driven messages.

Whilst some of this thinking has echoes of Marshall McLuhan's mantra, "the medium is the message", it increasingly informs the advertising debate in publications and at events like Media 360 and The Battle of Big Thinking. DDB and the IPA analysed IPA Effectiveness Award winning papers and found that 84% of the most effective case studies had an appeal to the emotions at their heart.

Our challenge at the RAB is that radio accounts for over a quarter of people's media consumption - Britain Loves Radio! But the medium doesn't loom this large in customers' minds and on marketing plans. We believe it should and have an enviable track record of producing award winning research which proves radio's effectiveness. Ironically this research appeals to the rational mind and work like our Online Multiplier survey and our ongoing RadioGauge research, whilst very effective for proving the effect of radio on a campaign don't share the consumer experience of radio with our trade customers.

Radio seems resolutely typecast as a tactical advertising medium; restricted to delivering the rational messages within the ad campaign, tasked with prompting a response or driving the sale.

But it seems that many advertisers remain indifferent to radio's brand building potential, unconvinced about the ability of an image-less medium to influence brand perceptions.

And that's why we commissioned this study - to understand the emotional influence of radio relative to other media, and explore how this can benefit advertisers seeking to build brands.

The findings deliver a potent reminder of the influential emotional role that radio plays in people's lives and suggest that, beyond its current tactical function, the medium should be given far greater consideration for brand communication plans.

So, to our research: "Media and the mood of the nation" (conducted by Sparkler Research in Spring 2011 on behalf of the RAB), sets out to explore how media improve people's mood. Crucially we try to link our research findings to how advertisers can harness this emotional engagement to ensure that they have the most effective marketing plans. The report can be accessed via the link, where details of what we discovered can be found.

Below we have summarised the five key findings from the study:

1. Consuming any medium (TV, Online, Radio) has a significant uplift effect on people's mood

2. Radio generates the highest Happiness and Energy levels of the three media measured, and on more occasions a. On average, when consuming radio, Happiness & Energy scores increase by 100% and 300% compared to when no media is being consumed; b. Radio is the highest scoring medium for Happiness & Energy in 70% of dayparts across the week; c. Radio is also part of the most potent mood-enhancing media combination, when consumed concurrently with online

3. This mood-boosting effect of radio editorial extends into the ad break generating 30% higher levels of positive engagement with radio advertising

4. So for advertisers, radio represents a unique and powerful opportunity to reach consumers in a positive frame of mind, when they will be more receptive to advertising messages

From this we conclude, that for advertisers:

5. Radio is a powerful Emotional Multiplier, boosting consumer happiness and enhancing receptiveness to advertising

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