Paper Ads Tune into Consumer Emotions

21 Mar

Photo source from Truth Is the, featuring IKEA

A recent study by Millward Brown and featured in Neuromarketing, studies whether consumers are emotionally affected by paper or digital advertisements. The case study employed the use of brain scans to determine which type of ad, paper or digital, registered more emotions.

The form in which ads are presented, tangible or intangible, may affect consumers’ emotions. As the industry discovers more places to advertise, it is forgetting the classic advertising technique of direct mail. Direct mail, flyers, business cards and other tangible paper advertisements are slowly disappearing. The use of paper ads may be decreasing due to the increasing presence of consumers online.

According to the results featured in Neuromarketing, tangible ads evoke more emotional processing. Also the study says activity in the brain associated with “visual and spatial” information implies that the tangible ads are read as real by the brain thus activating memory. These results were not duplicated when studying digital ads.

Roger Dooley, author of Does Paper Outweigh Digital, discusses how the weight of paper may affect the perception of seriousness by the consumer. The study Dooley refers to throughout his article, Indcidental Haptic Sensations Influence Social Judgments and Decisions, found that the consumers perceived heavier paper as the more serious option.

“’Heavy’ is a near synonym for ‘serious’ in some contexts,” says Dooley. Therefore, consumers may unconsciously assume that the heavier the paper the more serious the ad or business proposition. Dooley gives tips on how to use paper to benefit one’s business in his blog.

When developing an advertising campaign advertisers should not be so quick to dismiss tangible ads such as direct mail. Since they are rare and designs are endless, tangible ads can be a creative addition to an ad campaign.

Consumers were more interactive with digital ads however, the research shows that tangible ads leave a memorable and emotional impact. features previous ads that appeared in a variety of magazines. Share your thoughts on any tangible or print ads that come to mind and what made them special as opposed to the ad appearing on the web.


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