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Conscious Coupling: How Branded Integrations Boost the Effectiveness of Standard Ads
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Conscious Coupling: How Branded Integrations Boost the Effectiveness of Standard Ads

A lot can be said about being in the right place at the right time, and a recent Nielsen study found that common axiom is especially true when it comes to advertising effectiveness.

The study looked at both standard television advertisements and in-program placements (IPPs)–brands or products that air within a program itself—and found that one actually helps the other.

While the amount of primetime, non-sports IPPs measured in Nielsen’s TV Brand Effect coverage has declined in recent years across the English language broadcast networks—from 185 brands showcasing 5,580 integration occurrences over the 2012-13 TV season to 136 brands airing 4,455 integrations during the 2014-15 season—their impact hasn’t. In fact, when these integrations aired in the same program as standard ads for the same brand, brand memorability for those ads increased 16% among adults 18-34.

The lift was and even more pronounced when brand memorability was measured among the broader demographic of adults 18-49 years old, which saw an 18% increase.

There were also some differences among gender lines, too.

While an adjacency lift was noted across both genders, the lift in brand memorability for ads airing adjacent to IPPs versus without IPPs was 26% among men 18-49, while the lift was only 9% among women in the same age group.

“Increasing the resonance of a standard advertisement by positioning a branded integration in close programming proximity is a proven way to add value and increase effectiveness,” said Chad Dreas, Managing Director of Media Analytics, Nielsen. “While there has been a decrease in both brands and occurrences in regards to branded integrations, it is still a great opportunity for marketers looking to increase their advertising impact,” adds Dreas.

Percent Lift in Standard Ad Performance

2014-2015 Broadcast Season, Viewers 18-49

Metric Lift
Ad Memorability 5%
Brand Memorability 18%
Message Memorability 19%
Likeability 17%
Source: Nielsen TV Brand Effect, based on survey responses from Sept. 21, 2014-May 20, 2015. Limited to adults 18-49 across primetime, non-sports programming on English-language broadcast networks.

While branded integrations can help improve the memorability and appeal of standard ads, it’s important to recognize that the amount of improvement can vary, depending on the strength of the integration. So what helps drive positive performance of IPPs above and beyond the synergy with standard advertisements?

The study found that marketers and agencies could benefit from a few best practices to increase brand awareness and gain a better line of sight into a potential path to return on investment.

Say It Again

Advertisers should consider repeating themselves and giving consumers every opportunity to remember their brand. Verbal brand cues were be one of the strongest drivers of brand memorability. Creatives with multiple brand mentions were found to more impactful than a single mention.

Get Visual

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but advertisers who extend the on-screen visual duration of their brand can potentially boost their worth in more tangible ways. More extensive screen time helps increase your brand’s exposure for shown-only (non-verbal) placements.

Give It Some Context

Going all-in when it comes to integrating products helps direct viewer focus to the brand itself. From sponsorship prizes to weaving the brand into the storyline or having characters interact with the product itself can give the brand often hard-to-get gravitas.

Think Long Term

Consistency and thinking about the future are keys to any great relationship. It’s no different for advertisers looking to woo consumers. Nielsen found that a consistent, ongoing presence in a program spanning multiple episodes (and multiple seasons) generates much higher performance for branded integrations.

Be A “Do-Gooder”

Corporate responsibility has gone from suggestion to near compulsory among the industry. Positive IPP performance can be driven by both a pro-social theme as a well as touting a charitable theme, such as donations.

Methodology

Nielsen TV Brand Effect is based on survey responses from Sept. 24, 2012 – May 22, 2013 (2012-2013 season), Sept. 22, 2013 – May 21, 2014 (2013-2014 season), Sept. 21, 2014 – May 20, 2015 (2014-2015 season). Occurrence data limited to original airings only. Lift percentages are inclusive of both original and repeat airings. Television norms inclusive of primetime non-sports programming on English-language broadcast only. Comparisons between adjacent and non-adjacent airings limited to brands appearing in both buckets. Analysis of TV based on up to one day post-ad stream. Minimum reportable sample size is 35.