A Neuromarketing Study: the Impact of Colors in Advertising

Published: 30 November 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/szrn2b9zvd.1
Jessica Villarreal Méndez, Alejandro Sánchez Ceballos, Andrea Xochitl Jimenez Ramirez


This study delves into the world of Neuromarketing, focusing on the impact of colors in advertising. The central objective is to determine if there is a significant correlation between color selection in design and typography of the ads and the resulting brain responses. The project seeks to understand whether particular color combinations can trigger different neural responses, ultimately influencing whether an ad captures a viewer's attention. The rationale for this study arises from a significant problem in today's advertising landscape. The 99% of Generation Z, people whose birth year is between 1995 and 2000, frequently avoids advertisements, primarily due to information overload and advertising saturation. This phenomenon not only increases costs for businesses but also generates annoyance among consumers. Therefore, this research is primarily motivated by the urgent need to gain a deeper understanding of the specific attributes of advertising that truly connect with people, with a predominant emphasis on color choice. The experimental methodology begins by recruiting participants from Generation Z (9 males, 7 females), chosen based on their preferences and characteristics that represent the target audience. Popular themes are selected to create a set of both attention-grabbing and unremarkable advertisements. During the experiment, Electroencephalography (EEG) technology is employed to continuously record and measure brain activity. The experiment unfolds as follows: Each participant is individually briefed on the experiment's procedures and outfitted with the necessary EEG equipment. An initial baseline state is established to represent the participant's resting cognitive activity. The 100 advertisements are then presented in a randomized order. After each advertisement, participants are promptly asked to express whether they found the ad appealing or not. Subsequently, another baseline state is recorded before presenting the next stimulus. This cycle is repeated one hundred times, providing a substantial dataset for analysis. Amid this experimental process, a critical hypothesis is postulated. It asserts that the use of colors in advertisements significantly affects neural responses, suggesting that captivating advertisements generate higher responses compared to unremarkable ones. This hypothesis is fundamental in guiding the study and shaping the research questions. In conclusion, this research project strives to highlight the vital role that colors play in advertising. By offering insights into the creation of more effective advertisements, it seeks to reduce advertising saturation, ultimately fostering more satisfying relationships between brands and consumers.


Steps to reproduce

The data from this project provides a comprehensive analysis of the electroencephalogram(EEG) recording. EEG recordings were obtained from 16 participants as part of this project. Data collection was carried out using the state-of-the-art Unicorn Black device, which represents cutting-edge technology for capturing EEG signals and features 8 recording channels. The channels are as follows: Fz,C3,C7,C4,Pz,PO1,PO2 and Oz. Each participant viewed 100 advertisements, with 30 of them being attention-grabbing ads and 70 being non-attention-grabbing ones. An advertisement was randomly displayed for 3 seconds, followed by the question “Was the ad appealing or not appealing?”,. to which the participant had 3 seconds to respond. After this, a black screen with a white dot in the center was displayed for an additional 3 seconds to allow the participant to return to baseline state and ensure clear visualization of each stimulus. This procedure resulted in a total testing time of 16 minutes. As previously mentioned, the Unicorn Black device with 8 channels was used, and the EEG electrodes were placed on the scalp, with reference electrodes located behind the ears on the mastoid process. The sampling frequency used for recording the data was 250 Hz. Data obtained from each participant is stored in .EDF file format. OpenVibe software was employed for data acquisition, and each stimulus was assigned a label. The dataset is stored in a folder named "data_Advertisements," which contains 15 subfolders representing the data for individual subjects, labeled from S1 to S15. Each subfolder contains both a .EDF and a .SET file. To preprocess the data, EEGLAB was used. The data was imported in .EDF format for opening in EEGLAB and obtaining a .SET file. A bandpass filter from 8 to 13 Hz was applied, and the locations of the 8 channels were assigned. The Independent Component Analysis (ICA) method was then applied to the data, which allowed for the separation of each signal into independent components.


Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey


Neuroscience, Marketing, Advertising, Consumer Behavior, Colorimetry