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Who won the Mirror?

30 Oct 2014 |   
Who won the Mirror?

Have you ever wondered which ads placed in the national newspapers are the most effective at engaging readers? Newsline has partnered with Lumen Research to find out.

While its profits may have taken a bit of a tumble last week, Debenhams can at least hold its advertising head up high, as it bags this week's top spot in Who won the Mirror? (Yes, we have swapped papers this week.)

The popular department store (though not quite John Lewis) achieved an impressive standout of 90% in this week's Mirror - 13% above the norm - with Auntie Vals across the nation jumping for bacteria-splattering joy at the prospect of spending hours on end meandering through festive aisles of marginally over-priced consumerism.

With an engagement level of 2.2 seconds, the ad performed slightly lower than the expected 2.8 seconds; however, according to Lumen, the simplicity of the ad meant that in all their frenzied excitement readers could take in all of the necessary information from the ad quickly.


The unconditional joy of festive scarves, scented candles and lavender body lotions aside, there's actually a bit of clever science behind the success of the ad.

Negative space makes the ad standout from the rest of the text dense double page spread, an unusual layout reduces 'ad blindness' and the large quality images of the models used in this ad all contribute to the ads exceptional standout.

This is called the Dual Process Theory, which was developed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. The theory can be split into two systems:

System 1 - is made up of the fast, instinctive processes and mental shortcuts that constantly happen in our brains, mostly without us even noticing.

System 2 - consists of the slower, more logical processes where we have to consciously engage our mental faculties.

"A beneficial evolutionary adaptation is the way in which our attention is automatically attracted to faces or things that look like faces," explained Mike Follett, Lumen founder.

"By putting faces in their ad, Debenhams engaged system 1 and got people to look at their ad. Having captured the attention, people then engage with the ad using system 2 processes to find out what's being advertised.

"By making the ads easy to read and navigate the participants can get the information they want with minimal effort."

Cool, huh? Or maybe Auntie Val really is just that excited about that scarf.

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