How Emotional Ads from ITV, BBC and Black Farmer Inspired Viewers To Find Out More About Black History Month

During October we’ve seen several UK brands join in the celebrations for Black History Month with their own tributes to the achievements and contributions of black people across Britain.

But how have these spots gone down with UK audiences? And how effective have they been at spreading awareness of Black History Month and urging people to find out more?

Well, to help answer these questions, we delved deeper into three spots from BBC Sport, ITV and Black Farmer using our emotional targeting and testing tool UnrulyEQ.

Here are the key findings:

BBC Sport: “The Story Is the Future”

BBC Sport’s ad celebrates a diverse range of different athletes by showing a montage of various sport stars who are either black or who have come from black heritage in action. Athletes include Mahmudi Ali, the Williams sisters, Jessica Ennis and Colin Kaepernick.

This ad from the BBC evoked knowledge in 13% of respondents, compared to a UK norm of 9%, while 39% of respondents said they wanted to find out more after watching the ad, compared to a 31% UK norm. The highest emotions evoked in this spot were inspiration, warmth and pride, which are all emotions you’d normally associate with a sports ad.

It was interesting to see that this ad scored above average across all key brand values, with 65% of respondents feeling the ad was genuine, compared to a UK norm of 63%. More than half (54%) of respondents also thought the ad did not use outdated stereotypes, scoring 54% versus a UK norm of 48%. This is likely due to the representation of individuals from different genders and cultures throughout the ad.

ITV: “A Celebration of Black Culture”

ITV’s spot promotes the channel’s programming over Black History Month, celebrating the music, food, styles and literature the black community has brought to the UK.

Almost a fifth of viewers (18%) felt more knowledgeable after watching the ad, way above the UK average of 9%, while 41% of viewers expressed interest in finding out more after watching the ad, compared to a 31% UK norm.

The top three emotions evoked by this ad were happiness (10%), warmth (8%) and inspiration (6%), all scoring above the UK norm. Interestingly, only 42% of Brits could name ITV as the brand behind the ad after viewing it. This is likely down to ITV having only added their logo at the end of the ad, letting the Black History Month message and visuals take centre stage throughout the rest of the spot.

The Black Farmer: “Black History Month”

The Black Farmer is a British food brand launched by Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, a farmer whose Jamaican family came to the UK in the Windrush years in the 1950s. The ad looks back over black history through a series of drawings, photos and paintings, some of which are very difficult to look at.

The ad sparked high levels of knowledge in viewers, scoring 19% compared to a 9% UK norm, while 44% of Brits said they wanted to find out more after seeing the ad, compared to a 31% UK norm.

The emotional mix for this ad was divided between inspiration and warmth on one side, and sadness, disgust and shock on the other. This mix resulted in 30% of viewers having an intense emotional reaction to the content, compared to a UK norm of 20%, and a strong brand favourability score of 37%, compared to the UK norm of 30%.

Interestingly, no respondents could remember what brand was behind the ad after watching it, with 12% believing it was produced by the BBC. This is likely down to not many people knowing about The Black Farmer brand and the ad lacking any explanation of what the company does.

In conclusion

All these spots succeeded in educating audiences and encouraging them to find out more about Black History Month. However, audiences struggled to remember the brands behind each of the campaigns.

Inspiration and warmth were used in all three ads to convey the message of Black History Month, but, interestingly, each brand paired these two core emotions with very different emotions to convey their messages, resulting in three very different ads — the BBC went for pride, ITV happiness and The Black Farmer sadness.

We tested all these ads using our content measurement tool UnrulyEQ, which uses a combination of audience panels, facial coding and machine learning to measure viewers’ emotional responses to advertising. The results were then compared to Unruly’s database of thousands of ads to see which ads generated the highest levels of shock among viewers.

UnrulyEQ is a product suite which delivers higher emotional impact and better business outcomes for advertisers using the power of video.

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