29 eye-tracking heatmaps reveal where people really look

29 eye-tracking heatmaps reveal where people really look is a great article on Business Insider by Gus Lubin and Hayley Hudson that was posted earlier this year.

Using eye-tracking software such as Sticky, they have created heat maps showing where consumers’ eyes gravitate to when looking at different things and how results can differ based on gender (male trends emphasise a focus on the face and groin, and spend more time looking at models, whereas women are shown to focus much more on the face whilst also reading the rest of the ad).

From an advertising perspective, I was caught when scanning this article by the difference in consumer focus shown in the two slightly different ads for Sunsilk ‘Passionately Red’ shampoo as, despite my own focus fitting the trend completely, I’d not considered that the featured model’s focus would subconsciously influence my own.

Interestingly, as well as an image showing that placing a product slightly left-of-centre in a store display gets the most attention from customers, there is also an example of a gaze plot which shows where eyes are focused when faced with a shelf of shampoo products. This is interesting because it raises the issue of how things are branded for the FMCG sector and the effectiveness of different approaches to packaging, as well as the impact of consumer psychology on the importance of where things are shelved in-store.

All in all, a great piece; definitely one to browse during a coffee break.

Top Ten Best Halloween Campaigns

It’s unmistakeably that time of year again. The nights growing longer; the morning’s are getting colder (or it seems so to me); and Christmas adverts have started sneaking their way back onto our television screens. It can only mean one thing…


Without doubt the best holiday of the year excepting Christmas. I prefer Halloween, despite its pretty much purely capitalistic bastardisation of the pagan festival, to even my own Birthday – don’t get me wrong, birthdays are great, but I’m the type who prefer’s giving presents to getting them. A fact which makes Halloween therefore, THE. PERFECT. HOLIDAY., particularly now I’m (apparently) too old to dress up myself.

So to ring in the most fun-filled/annoying evening of the year (depending on your personal perception), I thought I’d make a list of my favourite Halloween-based advertisements in all their spooky glory. Some are scary, some have a twist, and some… well some are just laugh-out-loud funny so keep scrolling, and if you feel so desired at the end, leave a comment. Who knows, maybe I’ve missed a cracker out there that needs to be added.

10) (1960s) Sugar Rice Crinkles ad features a vintage circus clown that is far too reminiscent of 1990’s psychological horror film ‘It’ for my liking.

9) Axe’s 2011 ‘Horror Thriller’ ad features all the best references to the genre before ending with ‘The Axe Effect’ splashed across our screens after the ad shows that even the walking dead come out smelling great with Axe Effect. Bit cheesy but a nicely creative idea.

8) DDB published this ‘Happy Halloween’ ad in the Philippines for STP Oil. I just love how simplistic yet effective this it is – something that often attempted for the occasion but hard to achieve in the print medium without appearing contrived.

DDB 'Happy Halloween' ad

7) Dirt Devil ‘The Exorcist’ is a legitimately creepy parody ad directed by the much acclaimed Andreas Roth. What makes it even better is that it has an extended version. All the more awesome cinematography to swoon over before the brilliant twist at the end.

6) One of Phones4You’s 2011 ads was almost censored after the Advertising Standards Agency received 260 complaints saying it was ‘too scary’ and the use of a little girl was ‘inappropriate’. Luckily it stayed on our screens and the “Missing our deals will haunt you” campaign remains one of my personal favourites.

5) Dulux’s ‘Wash and wear’ ad is my partners favourite (albeit only due to his love of the brand’s mascot and Old English Sheepdogs in general), but the funny twist at the end definitely ranks it up there in my top five.

4) Gainomax ‘Scary monkey’. Simply put, I love this ad. Clear concept. Brilliantly executed. Perfect and hilarious twist. What more could you want?

3) ‘Take this Lollipop’ by Jason Zada won twenty-three awards including an emmy. The 2011 interactive horror short film and Facebook app used the Facebook Connect application to bring viewers themselves into the film, and underscores the dangers inherent in posting too much personal information about oneself online.


2) The 2006 US ad for Snickers with the baseline: ‘Its what you would want’ was created by TBWA\CHIAT\DAY and won a Golden Lion at the 2007 Cannes festival. I’ve shared my two favourite examples, but there are more scattered about the internet should you want to check them out.

Snickers_2 Snickers_1

1) Nike’s: ‘Run for your life’. This ad for me epitomises a great Halloween-themed campaign. Brilliant concept that ties clearly into the brand identity and reinforces its values without detracting from the creative offering. LOVE IT

10 Things about me

I suppose this will be an introduction of sorts – albeit admittedly, a belated one. I’ve never been great for talking about myself to be honest as I generally prefer my work to speak for itself. That of course doesn’t quite work when writing a blog however, particularly one that I hope will get people’s attention rather than the standard online diary-esque approach I usually come across on Tumblr.

That’s not to say that I have anything against Tumblr or personal blogs of course; I’ve had several over the years, but its not really the approach I want to take here.

So, to take away the mystery of who I am, I thought I’d make a top ten list of what makes me.. well.. ‘me’ I suppose.

1) I’m a postgraduate student at Leicester’s De Montfort University studying an MSc in Advertising and PR Management after graduating in 2013 (also from DMU) with 2:1 in BA International Relations and Journalism.

2) I chose to pursue an MSc is due to my interest in pursuing these areas not only as marketing tools, but as management disciplines. Being able to see how roles interacts and works alongside each other both in-house and in agencies, I think will best allow me to build on my industry awareness, expand my skillset, and work out where my abilities truly ‘fit’.

3) Between graduating and starting my MSc, I’ve gained B2B editorial, Marketing, Communications and PR experience with:

  • Communicate Magazine
  • Weston-super-Mare Town Council
  • PAPER CIC (a Bristol-based social enterprise targeted at helping creative graduates gain the skills needed to enter careers in the creative sector)
  • KREOD International (a FDI and architectural initiative seeking to host business conferences in a custom-made structure alongside the 2016 Rio Olympics)

and, most recently,

  • Hopwood PR.

4) I have a LinkedIn profile (http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/ashley-keir-bucknall/35/52b/394), a Contently portfolio (https://ashleykeirbucknall.contently.com/), and a Twitter page (@AshleyKB91) as well as this blog of course – Going into PR, I’d assume these are staple platforms so I’m glad mine are all sorted now (although, saying that, I ought to update my Contently portfolio).

5) I was originally born in the Middle East (Sharjah) to British expats and spent my formative years in Dubai, but have lived in the UK since I was eight.

6) I lived and worked abroad as a nanny between my first and second year of university. Although I can wholeheartedly say Paris is a wonderful city (I really enjoyed the then-novel experience of the Metro as well as the cafe-culture and amazing Fête de la Musique), nannying (although rewarding) is a job I would not choose to repeat.

7) 5 & 6 led to my unending interest in other cultures and learning foreign languages which has lead to my recently starting Mandarin classes as well as reviewing my German ability. I am also tentatively exploring the ideas of solo-studying Arabic and Japanese.

8) I spent an almost unholy amount of time online, and most of it is spent reading. This is something that is an endless source of frustration/amusement for my boyfriend, and something that I have no intention what-so-ever of slowing down. After all, keeping on top of developments in the professional market is what is balancing out the more in-depth, yet understandably out-of-date knowledge shared on my course.

9) From what I’ve seen so far, appearance and a good attitude is everything; or at least it is a BIG factor in PR. I’m not a wilting wallflower in the slightest so to balance my big personality, I am trying to get in shape for when I graduate – the operative word there being: ‘trying’, but I’m slowly making progress.

10) If you hadn’t already guessed, Je suis un Nerd (and yes the capitalisation is deliberate). ‘Nerdiness’ may be gaining acceptability in society but it still has a long way to go, I think. Being passionate about things however is what’s allowed me to grow as both an individual and professionally, so its not something that bothers me in the slightest.