After six years of experimentation, Millward Brown, a unit of WPP's Kantar, has launched a neuroscience practice to test the effectiveness of ads.
The firm has partnered with EmSense, a neuroscience testing firm. Up to now, Millward Brown has offered clients an array of traditional techniques for testing ads. Now, they'll also have the option of using EmSense research tools and services.
While the EmSense technology will primarily be used as an option for pre-testing ads before they go to market, it can also be applied "more broadly to a range of custom solutions for clients," a Millward Brown rep confirmed.
For years, marketers have debated how useful neuroscience and biometric research can be in helping them craft better ads -- but the techniques have won more converts with recent improvements. Of late, a handful of firms, including EmSense, have introduced portable, less intrusive and more affordable devices to track and gauge brain wave activity and biologic data as subjects view ads.
Mitzi Lorentzen, a vp at Millward Brown's optimizing communications unit, said that combining neuroscience and traditional research gives clients "a new road-map for advertising development, evaluation and optimization."
Elissa Moses, EmSense's chief analytics officer, said clients could benefit from having the ability to combine Millward's patented "Link" testing process with EmSense's neuroscience approach in a "one-stop shopping place."
EmSense also has partnerships in with research firms specializing in areas such as in-store displays, online advertising and packaging.
"Our strategy has been to have alliances with companies that are leaders in vertical research sectors," Moses said. "With Millward Brown being a leader in advertising testing, we felt they were a good partner for us."