Nielsen: Disrupting the Beauty Industry With Consumer Neuroscience

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Myriad trends exist across the consumer product goods (CPG) landscape, but few are as noteworthy as health and wellness. In the U.S., the economy and immigration are the only two topics that carry more weight for Americans, according to recent data from The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey, in collaboration with Nielsen.

Like Nielsen, CVS Health is very attuned to the wellbeing of consumers around the world. The company is so committed to health that it took the unprecedented step back in 2014 to remove tobacco products from all of its stores. Today, CVS Health is focusing on beauty, and the company is helping abolish unrealistic portrayals of beauty in marketing and media through its Beauty Unaltered campaign. Through its own research, CVS Health has found that consumers favor the idea of more realistic beauty images, but it wanted to ground the feedback from consumers with scientific data.

After all, we know that people don’t always act or say what they believe. When it comes to the brain, consumer neuroscience has long proven that what people say or think rationally doesn’t always align with how they truly feel—or how they’ll act. So CVS Health looked to Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience to get a better understanding of consumers’ views about beauty.

Dr. Nietzsche Lam, Director of Neuroscience at Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience, recently presented with Allegra Pedretti, Senior Manager of Customer Insights at CVS Health, at the Shopper Brain conference in New York City. They shared how neuroscience technologies can answer big questions on topics that are socially charged, given that results from neuroscience may differ from answers you get from consumers directly.

Using Nielsen’s EEG and eye-tracking technology, Nielsen tested several Beauty Unaltered images of models, along with several images of digitally altered models. We also tested a print ad with messaging about the campaign.

The results were extremely positive. EEG measurement revealed that on average, engagement for Beauty Unaltered images was significantly stronger than engagement for digitally altered images, and the engagement outperformed Nielsen’s data based norms. The EEG results also showed strong ties between Beauty Unaltered and the CVS brand, as well as strong associations with key campaign attributes of confident, inspiring and genuine.

With this information, CVS and its brand partners can move forward with confidence that Beauty Unaltered will improve consumers’ rational, conscious views of CVS beauty while engaging and motivating them on a deeper, non-conscious level.


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