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Mobile Zen: The Data Behind Happiness

Posted 9 March 2014 4:00 PM by Chris Bailey

If you tie happiness to a brand, good things will happen. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Then why in this industry do we spend so much of our time and money creating ads that people can’t stand? There’s an entire business segment behind helping people avoid ads. Ad blockers, ad-free kindles, ad-free Spotify, so on and so on. But maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe we are making annoying ads so that companies can charge to not see them. Anyone else smell a conspiracy? No? Just me? But honestly, why do we do continue to make annoying ads? I really want to know.

It’s my opinion that in this brave new uber-connected world, we have access to so much data that we have started to look at things in an emotionless way. Instead of seeing people as people, we see them as impressions or click-through rates or any other number of statistics. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that data is the future of our industry and can help us in so many ways, but we can’t let that cause us to lose focus of what great advertising does so well — which is connecting with consumers on an emotional level.

That's why I found it quite refreshing to hear Kiip CEO and co-founder Brian Wong talk about his company’s belief that brands have the power to produce happiness in consumers. They do this by tapping into moments in people’s lives and by rewarding them in a way that is about happiness and emotion and not just about pushing your product. They realize that loyalty and affinity are different things with the latter being much more valuable.

In a recent study, Kiip used biometric bracelets to measure people’s level of excitement when exposed to full-page ads, banner ads, physical rewards or virtual rewards. And to absolutely no surprise, full-page ads and banner ads were at the bottom of the curve. This shows what we already know: our delivery method is flawed. Sure if you shove something in someone’s face enough you will get noticed, but is that really the kind of attention you want?

While Kiip is currently exclusively an app-based company, the truths by which they have built their business are also true in every facet of marketing. With the amount of connectivity starting to flood the marketplace, we need to start tapping into moments of emotion, like success, happiness, sadness, accomplishment, etc. Not to exploit them but to insert brands in a way that causes happiness without interruption.

So let’s stop being that annoying guy at the party who can’t stop talking about himself and start getting involved in our customers’ lives in a way that’s helpful and meaningful. And if our ads become more than just a vehicle to sell a product, maybe the landscape of advertising can change to a brighter one.  

Chris Bailey is Senior Art Director at Moxie. In his role, he gets to dream up creative executions for our top clients. If he were ever to be on Jeopardy, he would kill it in the comic book category. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisWB174.

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