The eyes have it!
The BBC have come up trumps again with another fascinating story about our involuntary behaviour to eyes which could have interesting consequenences for advertising.
A Newcastle University team reporting in Biology Letters found that people put three times more money into an “honesty box” when buying a drink when there was a pair of eyes on a poster above the box than when there was a poster containing flowers.
Over a 10-week period an A5 poster with drinks prices was rotated between eyes and flower, with the total contributions for drinks each week being totalled-up.
Eyes brought in 2.76 times more money than flowers.
Well, the explanation for the difference (after deeper reading) is apparently down to the brains acute sensitivity to the detection of expressions and emotions. Coupled with our consciousness (in some cases desire!) of being watched, it is likely that the eye poster made people believe they were being watched and responded accordingly – honestly!
So what does this mean for advertisers?
What do you want your customers to look at? Telephone number, email address, discount price?
Behaviour-affecting imagery clearly has more of a role to play than we ever previously thought.
In my direct mail days, we once carried out a series of tests using the image of an aeroplane set at different degrees of rotation (i.e. take-off and landing angles).
The aeroplane set to land scored the lowest resonse rate (< 2.5%) whilst (not surprisingly) the airplane taking-off generated the highest response rate (c.2.8%) but more importantly generated the most holiday competition entries. OK, it’s not rocket science but it without doubt demonstrates how important the smallest things can be. You might want to take a little more time examining those stock shots you just bought! Somethings to consider: People:Â Male or Female?