Katz: Go Local to Influence Voter Brains

Ads that told stories of real, local people rendered stronger emotions than celebrity or attack ads
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EEG, galvanic skin response and facial coding. Those are methods used in a study being cited by Katz Media Group to demonstrate the power of radio at influencing voters.

Katz, which promotes advertising to national advertisers on behalf of 3,300 radio and 700 TV stations, says a neuroscience study it commissioned from SPARK Neuro focuses on brain and nervous system responses of undecided voters exposed to radio political ads.

It studied how the Clinton campaign used radio to connect with undecideds in the final stage of the campaign and found that �customizing radio messages to local markets in key battleground states is a more impactful way to swing undecided voters in the upcoming presidential election than celebrity endorsements or attack ads.�

Katz summarized the findings, saying local is critical: �Localized radio advertising (ads that feature citizen testimonials from the unique market in which the spots air) have a significant benefit in engaging Undecideds, by increasing attention levels (+13% lift versus no spike in attention from those outside the geography) and retaining attention for longer periods throughout the localized ads. In general, ads that told stories of real, local people rendered stronger emotions and higher attention than celebrity endorsements, attack ads, or any other strategy.�

And it said targeted messaging pays off: �Targeted political radio ads, such as those intended for Seniors, Moms and African Americans, leave a much greater impression than those geared for the general market. Specifically, in Clinton�s Amanda Strine ad, which focuses on her struggle to support her sick child, the radio spot earned top scores among Parents (87% emotional engagement, 54% attentiveness) versus Non-Parents (36% and 37%, respectively.)�

Testing took place in Tampa, Fla., and Allentown, Pa., in October. While participants were exposed to political ads, SPARK Neuro measured brain and nervous system activity. The data measures positive or negative emotions to the radio ads, as well as the intensity of attention.

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