Research Digest

Building Strong Memory Structures in Your Connected TV Ad


  • The gap between viewable and viewed impressions impacts how often your brand is seen, and ultimately how much. 
  • Strong memory structures refers to how effectively your brand name and its associated attributes resonate in the consumer’s mind.
  • Building these associations depends on two things: how connected your brand is in the creative, and making sure your brand is seen.

Ever wondered why some ads resonate more than others? Turns out, it takes more than powerful storytelling and a strong brand to catch a viewer’s eye. Where you place your branded moment matters—not only does this determine how many people will likely see it, but ultimately whether it will prompt action. This research digest examines branded moments, and how to integrate these practices into your Connected TV ad creative.

What Is a Branded Moment?

Branded moments go beyond simply seeing a logo or brand name on a screen. According to the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, this is defined as the emotional and logical sides of a consumer’s brain which engage while watching a Connected TV ad, which drives a long-term perception of the brand. Professor Romaniuk, International Director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute and a leading expert in brand health and advertising effectiveness, takes this definition one step further by referring to these associations as ‘triggers’ which bring the brand to mind at specific occasions (think Budweiser and sports, and Coca-Cola with entertainment and/or festivities).

The stronger the association, the more likely the consumer will choose your brand over competitors. Two factors contribute to this: a strong alignment between your brand and its Connected TV creative, and more importantly—making sure your brand/Connected TV ad is seen on screen.

Attention Distribution Affects Who Sees Your Ad

Turns out, brand placement is only one part of the puzzle. Research from Professor Karen Nelson-Field, a global researcher in media science, found that even if a brand is placed in Connected TV creative often, ultimately attention distribution defines whether or not your brand is seen. Basically, that means that if someone loses attention while watching your ad halfway through, and you haven’t included your brand yet, you’ve missed out on a brand touchpoint.  

Let’s take two hypothetical examples—in each, the brand is present across the entire ad length. Additionally, they adhere to the seven rules for brand growth as outlined by the Ehrenberg-Bass institute:

  1. Reach all buyers of the category
  2. Communicates how the brand fits with the consumer’s life
  3. Grabs attention
  4. Utilizes existing associations to make the brand easy to notice and easier to buy
  5. Create and use distinctive brand assets 
  6. Be consistent 
  7. Stay competitive (avoiding giving excuses not to buy)

In ad A (shown in the first chart at the top of this article), the attention decay distribution peaks early on and then tapers off, however your branded moments are still being viewed during each second of the ad because the audience is still paying a moderate amount of attention.

In ad B below, there is a sharper drop in attention volume. Here, 80% of your branded moments are seen by less than 20% of the audience you’re targeting—and close to half aren’t seen at all (denoted by ad length 9 – 15 which shows no movement on the vertical axis).

It is evident that early brand placement captures the highest attention in both examples. Thankfully, Connected TV advertising solutions are built to navigate this challenge—by serving ads to the intended audience on the content they are likely to be resonating with in the first place.

The Building Blocks to a Great Connected TV Ad

A study by research company Nielsen shares that memories start to decay immediately after they are formed—with the steepest drop in the first 24 hours—and levels off over time. A  study of 49 video ads were used to test this hypothesis, where memorability was tested immediately after exposure and then again a day later. However, just because there is a drop doesn’t spell doom and gloom for advertisers. The same Nieslen study studied brand memorability over a longer period of time for a number of digital video ads, and saw recall dropped for all ads by 50% in the first 24 hours, which still remained at the same level (50%) five days later for half of the brands.

Ultimately, memories can endure through repetition or implicit internalization. Take Doritos for example, who in a recent Connected TV advertising campaign took their branding to the next level…by having no branding at all. They even cleared out their social channels and replaced it with unbranded red and blue triangles. Doritos memorable branding (the distinctive red and blue bag that is often seen in prominent locations in grocery stores) have been used and ingrained consistently for decades—meaning that it doesn’t take much for the consumers to recognize the brand, process it and choose it.

How can brands replicate this for their own Connected TV ads? Firstly, by grabbing attention—through striking colors, bold fonts, unique shapes, catchy taglines or jingles…even a voiceover. And then rinsing and repeating this formula over time. Connected TV advertising platforms like MNTN take this one step further with solutions engineered to streamline the creative process and help brands narrow down what messaging and creative elements are working. 


Building memory structures goes beyond simply slapping a logo on a Connected TV ad—it is also understanding the intricacies of memory and how it applies to advertising. There are two factors that define if a consumer will engage with your brand (otherwise called a ‘branded moment’)—having a strong alignment/brand affinity and making sure your brand is actually being seen on screen. However, attention distribution (which peaks in the first 24 hours and drops shortly after) determines who will or will not see your ad. Connected TV advertising solutions can help navigate this ‘distribution challenge’ by automatically seeking out in-market audiences and serving your ad on the content they enjoy watching. This, and a combination of fine tuning the creative process through A/B testing different creative elements within your ads, can help brands ultimately find the right fit—and simply repeat for performance.


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