Alcon Labs uses brains to test ad effectiveness

Using only 20 respondents, Alcon Laboratories was able to measure the effectiveness of a DTC ad with enough accuracy to significantly improve its impact on the audience.

How was this possible? Alcon tapped neuroscience firm NeuroFocus to test the effectiveness of ads for its Pataday allergies solution by directly measuring signals from viewers' brains.

CEO Dr. A.K. Pradeep told delegates at last month's PMRG conference in Las Vegas that NeuroFocus uses a “baseball cap” with 64 sensors to measure attention levels, emotional engagement and memory retention up to 2,000 times a second. From this, the firm derives three metrics: purchase intent, novelty and awareness/understanding.

Because each  response is “subconscious” and delivered in one-third of a second, Dr. Pradeep described it as “a scientific measurement without biases and pitfalls. A sample size of 20 will produce 20 perfect responses.”
NeuroFocus was able to make several key recommendations: to emphasize “relief” and “once a day”(the strongest messages); to drop “new”; to focus on different messages for men and women; and to opt for frequency with the media buy.
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