Learn the appeal of Gorgeous George

Nespresso coffee has been doing rather well, growing at 30 per cent a year. A big slice of its success is down to George Clooney. The TV ads for Nespresso feature gorgeous George – and it’s clear they work.

But here’s a question: what do men think of the ads?

We know that asking consumers outright is problematic. Some men may be reluctant to admit they admire the Hollywood star. Others won’t want to say they are intimidated by his gleaming smile. We may not be consciously aware of our reaction.

What we need is a test which reveals what men really think.

Consumer neuroscience is superb at this. Consumers can be monitored to help us understand their subconscious emotional reaction.


We at Marketing Sciences Unlimited recently used the Nespresso ad to demonstrate consumer neuroscience research for the BBC.

There are three metrics to the test. An electroencephalogram (EEG) measures the subconscious emotional reaction as the person watches an ad. Is what they are seeing relevant to them? Do they identify with the people, situations or values?

A galvanic skin response (GSR) sensor measures changes to the electrical conductance of the skin. Being energised, excited and driven to action, will be picked up in a GSR. This is really important as it can predict purchase behaviour in response to brand messages.

The third component is eye-tracking. This reveals where viewers are looking at any given moment. Combine all three metrics and you get a second-by-second report on the depth of the viewer’s emotional reaction and attention as it fluctuates during the footage.

We monitored our participants’ reactions with these tools and played a Nespresso ad in which George Clooney has a misunderstanding with a beautiful woman. Does she want an autograph from the handsome movie star? Er, no, just for him to move over so she can make a coffee.

The results? The research shows women love the ad. The light humour resonates in the right way and we can identify which scenes and messages provoke peak reactions.

Men provided a distinct contrast. Their emotional reaction is opposite to women’s. The flirting between George and his femme fatale produced a cringe. They identify with George’s awkwardness.


The experiment, broadcast on BBC One, demonstrated what consumer neuroscience can bring to brands. Used correctly, it reveals the unconscious emotional processes of consumers that would have never been uncovered. It brings a new dimension to market research.

Marketing Sciences Unlimited are recognised as pioneers at the cutting edge of neuro-research. Our neuroscience consultancy Walnut Unlimited is one of the UK’s very few agencies devoted to developing marketing insights through the study and application of neuroscience.


A key component to consumer Neuroscience is combining it with other methods. It rarely stands alone. Here is where we can draw on the breadth of our service. We’ve been in business since 1977 and have developed expertise in combining diverse disciplines of market research to create actionable insights for business. Our experts offer advice and consultancy, not just numbers.

For a client such as Danone that wanted to enter the desserts market with a low-fat option, we combined sensory profiling at our own high-tech sensory lab and consumer research.

Using the two approaches meant consumers were able to tell us what they liked and our sensory profilers provided detailed information on how the test products differed. Danone used these insights to optimise the taste pre-launch. The result? Six months after launch, Danone had achieved a 5 per cent penetration of everyday desserts and driven overall category growth of 14 per cent, with Shape Delights accounting for 40 per cent of this.

Marketing Sciences have worked really closely with us, providing clear outputs and recommendations that helped develop the strategy for the coming year - Tesco

When Heinz Salad Cream wanted to overhaul their brand identity, our team of creative qualitative experts scrutinised the brand with consumers before we recommended major packaging changes using our industry leading Packmaster validation process. The results can now be seen on the shelf.

Tesco asked us to evaluate its Eat Happy healthy-eating programme for schoolchildren, which is currently running in stores up and down the country. We have one of the largest face-to-face fieldforces, all equipped and trained on tablet for faster data collection. Our award-winning customer experience team worked closely with Tesco, both at the time of delivery in-store and a few weeks after, to measure lasting impact.

Jodi Burt, senior programme manager at Tesco, reports: “Marketing Sciences have worked really closely with us, providing clear outputs and recommendations that helped develop the strategy for the coming year.”

With our highly diverse client list, we’re constantly innovating. We are busy working on the development of a Digital Journey Tracking Panel in partnership with our sister agency ICM Unlimited. This exciting work will allow us to track consumers’ real online journeys 24/7 and there is no doubt about the powerful insight this data will deliver to our clients.

Marketing moves forward relentlessly. Our position and ethos means we are always at the cutting edge. Which isn’t to say we aren’t friendly. As a 60-person agency located in Winchester, we pride ourselves on being approachable and personable. The fact that some of our clients have been with us 15 years or more suggests we are great to work with.

Our programme of client training workshops has now seen more than 100 client-side researchers graduate from our School of Thought, with courses in Basic Research Essentials, Embracing Insight Innovation and How to Apply Consumer Neuroscience.

Whatever your needs, from qualitative, quantitative, shopper, new product development, customer experience, sensory or the latest in consumer neuroscience, we can work with your team to give you clear direction through clever thinking.

For more information visit Marketing-sciences.com


01962 842211