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RETRO Ad of the Week: Blockbuster Really DID Known What They Were Doing

  • July 1, 2022

The start of summer has us feeling nostalgic here at Known!

Remember those hot summers in the 90's - desperately needing a break from the heat and craving a night in the AC? Nothing better than hitting up your local video store, fighting with your siblings over what would make the cut and convincing your mom to purchase those last-minute Twizzlers at the counter, like you hadn't been plotting it all along. 

But how did that idea get into our little brains? Or how did that inspiration reach our parent's to make the suggestion to quiet some noisy kids?

Of course we turned to the neuroscience to figure it out! 

To do this, we measured a Blockbuster Video ad we found on Youtube. (YES - it's THAT easy to measure any content you want!)

To our absolute delight (both in watching AND reviewing the results) - this ad performed incredibly with an average Immersion score of 70 out of 100 - better than 75% of all the content we measure.Screen Shot 2022-06-08 at 8.14.11 AM

This isn't too surprising when you evaluate the structure of the ad. We know that ads with storytelling do a better job than ads with flashy montages, celebrity cameos, or simple voice overs.

This Blockbuster ad starts out by anchoring us to a family, a little background and revealing over the course of the ad just what excitement they are in for at Blockbuster!

Another key success for Blockbuster? The reveals of their brand name!

To maximize brand recall and future action from an ad, it's best to build the brand name right into the tension of the story. This is because the brain is at maximum immersion at this point in the story with a flood of oxytocin, dopamine and all those other good neurochemicals Known measures.

Blockbuster nailed it. When the counter clerk first announces "Welcome to Blockbuster," our participants had an average immersion score of 74. And when the camera pans out to reveal the iconic blue awning with the bright yellow logo? We hit PEAK immersion with an average score of 77. Perfect. Screen Shot 2022-06-08 at 8.31.05 AM

What's the takeaway for your ads? Line up your brand with that peak moment of immersion in your participants and it will ABSOLUTELY drive your sales. (In fact - we have found that a 10 point increase in immersion is correlated to a 5% increase in sales!)

Has the nostalgia hit you too? You can watch the full commercial alongside the measurement HERE by clicking on the "Second by Second" tab. 


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