Business Administration assistant professor studies emotion in advertising
Do the emotions you experience while watching an advertisement make you more likely to buy a product? That’s just one of the questions UIS Assistant Professor of Business Administration Jorge Villegas is trying to answer.
Villegas researches the emotions people experience while watching advertisements using a variety of methods. He uses everything from pencil and paper surveys to MRI scans of the brain to determine a person’s reaction.
“We’re not really trying to think too much when we see advertising. We just want to feel good or feel scared or feel something. We don’t go to advertising because we want to learn,” said Villegas.
His MRI research inside the brain has shown measurable effects as people view an advertisement. Surprisingly, the results are almost identical to the reactions people are having when writing down details using the pencil and paper method. Villegas discovered there are definable differences as to whether a person likes an ad or not.
“In a couple of ads compared to the other two ads there were differences and they were real. They’re inside the consumer’s brain, which is absolutely astounding,” he said.
He also uses a method called content analysis to study ads. This method is used by Villegas to analyze how characters in television advertisements portray their emotions such as pleasure or arousal.
So if you enjoy watching an ad, does that make you more likely to buy a product?
“We like that ad more, we like the brand more and the next time we go to the super market we might end up buying that brand more than others just because we like the ad,” he said.
Villegas says it’s important to study advertising because companies spend billions of dollars on it every year.
“We want to know if it’s effective or not and how it works,” he said.