Finally, to test television ads for new Pantene, P&G, working with a firm it declines to name, hooked viewers up for a high-resolution electroencephalogram, placing caps on subjects' heads to measure their brainwaves as they watched commercials.
"We know based on what's firing in the brain whether or not we were tapping into her emotions, whether there is potential she will remember it, and whether she is paying attention to it," says Catherine Grzymajlo, a senior manager in P&G's consumer-market knowledge group.
Brainwave activity,or the lack of it,guided changes in Pantene's commercials, which began airing in May. In one ad, P&G noticed viewers were distracted when a model, with a look of frustration, was trying to deal with her unruly hair; they were wondering why she was upset and stopped focusing on the rest of the ad, Ms. Grzymajlo says. P&G re-edited the spot to focus less on the model's expression and more on her hair.
Pleased with the insights they gained, P&G researchers say they expect to do similar tests measuring brainwave responses to ads in the future.
"The sky's the limit in terms of what we can do with it," says Ms. Grzymajlo.