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UK Insights

Men and women have different gut reactions to financial advertising

Zoe Denny

Client Director

TV 28.11.2017 / 10:32

Barclays   Digital Safety   TV ad   YouTube

Instinctive impressions to everyday banking adverts are less positive amongst women, finds Kantar Millward Brown.

Our recent cross-Kantar research study Winning Over Women highlighted the commercial opportunity for financial services who attract more female clients, and raise their confidence levels.

However, despite finding that ‘everyday banking’ was an area women were reasonably self-confident and competent in, Kantar found that even in this area, the advertising still speaks to men more at an intuitive level.

This matters because this part of the category is a gateway into more complicated financial products like pensions and investments, where women feel less confident and engaged. If trust is not built in this entry part of the category then it is hard to get women to confidently move further into the category. 

Instinctive impressions about financial advertising are less positive amongst women

Kantar Millward Brown’s advertising evaluation technique, Intuitive Associations, measures what people think and feel instinctively about a brand after they’ve watched their advertising. It does this by measuring the speed in which people can link positive associations back to the brand; the faster, the more instinctive the reaction is. From the study, analysing responses to everyday banking adverts in the UK, we noted two key insights:

1. Women have a much less positive ‘gut feel’ response to these financial adverts than men. For the majority of ads, men had a faster response to the positive words. None of the ads had a more instinctive positive response for the brand amongst women (they were either slower or equal to men).  

2. The key areas where women are behind men in terms of instinctive feeling are ‘Trustworthy’ and ‘Understanding’. For most of the ads, women put these attributes significantly lower than men.

Storytelling in financial advertising needs to be tailored for women

It seems women can really engage or disengage depending on the perceived end benefit. Kantar Millward Brown’s Facial Coding technique measures facial expressiveness as someone watches an advert.  Coding over 1,200 different facial expressions, Kantar Millward Brown’s Facial Coding can assess where there are moments of particularly high engagement within the ad itself. This technique uncovers yet more interesting gender differences when it comes to banking ads.

1. Women are turned off by stories of risk without resolution. One advert (from Barclays) shows a call centre environment with the call handler tricking the customer over the phone into sharing their pin number. This impactful ad promotes the idea that Barclays will always keep you safe from this kind of fraudulent activity. There is a powerful moment within the ad, which shows a fascinating difference in instinctive response between the genders. The scam artist turns directly to the viewer and coldly asks ‘Did you see what I did there?’ At this point, the number of smiles amongst females plummets, as they are clearly turned off and disturbed by the scam. Men, on the other hand, lean forward, engage and smile more! Perhaps men feel like they’ve learnt enough (the potential risk) while women are left feeling scared – as the advert doesn’t show a customer resolution.

2. The overall family benefits of financial security engage women better. A Santander advert shows an expectant mother having to sort all the financial admin for her household, whilst her husband still enjoys time with his friends.  There is a twist moment though – she enters a room and he and all his friends have actually been working on the new nursery. Whilst men enjoy and smile at this supportive moment, the female response is off the charts – with an extremely high number of smiles coming through at the moment presenting family togetherness.  

Mark Chamberlain from Kantar Millward Brown commented, ‘Banks must consider creating adverts that both men and women can relate to – women are extremely valuable clients. They are twice as likely as men to recommend their bank to others, typically hold more savings, mortgage and general insurance products than men – and typically are more loyal. This neuroscience technology is so useful for brands because it shows how different groups of people really react to an advert and we can analyse that to ensure brands are achieving their desired outcome.’

For more information, read our white paper Winning Over Women.

Source : Kantar Millward Brown

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