In This Time of Crisis, Faces Matter

We held a live event on The Science Behind Thank-You TV Ads last week and we had the pleasure to welcome our panel of experts who discussed the recent findings from our comparative media analysis on thank-you ads along with ways to tackle advertising during these uncertain times. 


Key Takeaways for Marketers: 

- Faces matter. In a time where we are obligated to wear masks to cover our mouths and noses, the importance of faces skyrocketed. As smiling faces are shown throughout these thank-you ads, we observed an uptake in positive sentiment arise from viewers.  

“These faces can be from anywhere in the world, but we know we are facing the same dilemma or facing the same longings for connection, for smiling faces” - Deena  

“The faces are the important thing. One thing that this crisis does to us is depersonalised us. Even the act of wearing a mask turns us into, literally, faceless people. So, the reassurance of faces and people, and all of those things are very positive.” - Martin  

- Celebrating “Heroes”. COVID-19 ads and more specifically Thank-You ads take huge care to celebrate the “Heroes” of our everyday life. People, who now, more than ever, have an essential role in our societies and in this crisis such as frontline workers, essential workers and employees in general. Many brands took the time to thank these people. Walmart and Amazon even used the word “Hero” in their ad title. Yet, one remark remained regarding these ads were: Are they thank the people or the job?

- Contrasting gender responses to Thank-You ads. Men responded to these ads more positively than women. In fact, male faces were depicted a lot more than women's faces in the ads which might explain a higher positive rate coming from male audiences rather than female ones. The more female faces shown the more women felt happiness. 

"When you see a face that is showing a certain emotion then you are more likely to respond with that emotion. This is called Emotion Mirroring. In these cases that are featuring males faces, we might be seeing more of an effect with the male audience." - Monica

“While these ads are thanking employees, essential workers, frontline workers, how many people in the audience really identify with these particular groups of people?” - Deena  

- Text VS Imagery. Attention seemed to drop whenever text was the main creative component caring for the storyline. However, with Google ad for example it did not happen because the text was supporting the storyline rather than being the main driver of the storyline. Google was able to drag from their existing marketing promotion and style and produced an ad which seemed more authentic than other brands. 


Our Experts’ Main Recommendation for Advertisers: 

Take a chance to stand out. Consumers have seen so many similar ads during COVID-19 lockdown that they become not memorable and lose their impact. 

Test before going live. Our study shows the importance of testing before going live to make sure your ad resonates best within your target segment and prevent issues like we’ve seen with female audiences for these Thank-You ads. Consumer sentiment is shifting, context changes and we now have tools to very quickly get a pulse.  Test early and often, there is no excuse not to!  

Keep more pro-social messages in your tool kit as part of your crisis communication plan. So that when an event surfaces and you must put all the things you planned aside, your brand will be able to pivot their messaging. By testing your content and doing constant research, you ensure to better understand your consumers so that when the crisis arrives, your brand will know what will resonate best.  

Don't back away from your business. Show your consumer you are still here and you are ready when they are ready. Don't be shy to show how your product can be of use in these uncertain times but rather than selling be supportive. Try to put the needs of your consumers first as opposed to just drive your need for business. 

To find out more about our research and our experts' insights from Thank-You ads, click here to view the full video recording.