Interpublic Tests Ads That Reach out and Touch Someone, Finds Lift

January 25, 2017

By Joe Mandese

Sight, sound and motion have long been the Holy Trinity of Madison Avenue's sensory perception — and of TV's and video's dominance of advertising formats — but new research from Interpublic's Media Lab and Magna units touches on a fourth sense that may be an even more effective and engaging one: touch.

The research, which was based on tests of a series of "touch-enabled" video ads — ads that produced tactile haptic feedback enabling users to literally feel them — found that they generated a 50% lift in among consumers for the brands participating in the study.

The findings, which will be released in a report, "Ads You Can Feel: The New Mobile Experience," were based on a study of haptic feedback enabled pre-roll Web video ads using technology developed by Immersion Corp. for a four brands — BMW, Royal Caribbean, Arby's and Truvia — that were experienced by a panel of 1,137 Android users.

The full sensory experience is best observed by viewing the ads while holding a haptic-enabled mobile device, but if you watch the video below of the ad created for Arby's you'll get the idea — just imagine your phone actually reverberating when the announcer's deep-throated voice resonates or when pro golfer Andrew "Beef" Johnston pitches a ball into an Arby's cup producing a trademark kerplunk sound that also vibrates as the cup tilts over.

The study found that well-executed haptic applications increase a viewer's engagement with an ad, but also boost the toucher's sense of connection with a brand in the most literal way, yielding emotional connections — especially "happiness" and excitement.

Standard versions of the video ads tested achieved happiness and excitement levels of 37% and 30%, respectively, while versions enhanced with haptic feedback generated rates of 44% and 38%, respectively, for the same emotions.

Interpublic said the haptic versions also generated a "halo effect," boosting perceptions among consumers that the brands were also exciting by 6%.


"Interpublic Tests Ads That Reach out and Touch Someone, Finds Lift." MediaPost, 1/25/17.

You must be logged in to submit a comment.