May 18, 2021


In a world where nearly everyone is always online, there is no offline.

Brain Science

AUCKLAND, Tuesday: CBD-based behavioural agency NeuroSpot has tapped into the wonders of neuroscience to optimise the performance of Trustpower’s We’ve Got The Time campaign.

NeuroSpot founder/director Cole Armstrong said: “This project comes from some work I’ve done with Carolyn Schofield at Trustpower, using neuroscience to measure people’s emotional responses and branding cut-through.

“This work increased prompted brand awareness (+14%), brand recognition (+77%) and brand consideration (+20%).

“Given the impact that the work of effectiveness gurus Les Binet & Peter Fields has had on marketing thinking, this is a very different (and direct) way of measuring emotional impact and ad effectiveness on consumers.

“Trustpower is one of NZ’s most successful utility providers, acquiring significant numbers of new customers as well as spreading outside of its core energy focus into the telco industry.

“This is where NeuroSpot steps in, acting as the link between the world of human behavioural science, and the commercial world.”

“However, the energy and telco sectors have heated up in the past few years, with new competitors entering the market, and at the same time consumer behaviour has changed.  Levels of switching have increased, and consumers have becoming increasingly likely to review their options on a regular basis.

“In this environment, commercial advantage can be gained from finding new and innovative solutions. So, with a new brand campaign (We’ve Got the Time) in market, Trustpower decided to double-down on their investment, and used the latest scientific research methods from NeuroSpot to ensure their campaign hit the mark.

“The challenge is that emotion is a very difficult concept to define, although seemingly easy to recognise.”

So, how do you know when you’ve hit the mark? Trustpower marketing manager Carolyn Schofield said: “One of my challenges, in a commodity sector like utilities, is how to increase the desirability of the Trustpower brand.

“One way to do this is to create advertising that builds a positive, emotional connection with consumers.

“NeuroSpot used electroencephalography to measure people’s actual brain responses while watching the ad.”

“Conventional advertising performance research tells me what people say their reaction to advertising is, but this might not give the full story. It may also identify areas where advertising is not performing as expected but it doesn’t tell me why. Having invested in a major brand campaign I wanted to know if it was performing as well as it could, or if there was any room for improvement. And if so, what I could do to make it even better?”

Cole Armstrong said: “Over the last few decades, fields like behavioural economics and cognitive neuroscience have shown that whether we call them people or consumers, humans all work with the same set of equipment – eyes, ears, a brain and so on. We know people are irrational and influenced by emotion more than objective thought, and that’s really interesting. But we know that while irrational, people are equally predictable, and that’s a commercial opportunity for brands.

“The other interesting thing that marketers have noted is that most of our decision-making – 90-95% by some estimates – occurs subconsciously. So, asking people what they think and feel won’t help with decisions like branding and advertising impact, because by definition, it’s people’s subconscious in play.

“That is where NeuroSpot steps in, acting as the link between the scientific world of human behavioural science, and the commercial world.”

NeuroSpot used an approach that has been widely used overseas using electroencephalography (EEG) to measure people’s actual brain responses while watching the ad.

This allowed them to record the emotional intensity of each moment, and how visually engaging the scenes were.

The other key element of NeuroSpot’s approach was the use of eye tracking to measure what people really see even if they didn’t recall seeing it. “We know from researchers like Robert Heath, that people see much more than they think they saw, and that this can have a huge impact.  Equally, if someone doesn’t see something, they can’t be impacted by it. It surprises me the number of adverts I’ve tested, where people haven’t paid attention to the branding elements – a pretty simple and fundamental issue.”

The tvc from Gunroom features musicians Age Pryor, Laughton Kora, Chris O’Connor and Emma Eden creating an original piece of music called We’ve Got the Time.


Client: Trustpower
Creative Director: Daniel Crayford (ex CD at Lintas & Lowe)
Creative Agency: Art and Industry
Production Company: Gunroo
Director: Chris Dudman
Music: Age Pryor

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