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Not Only Do Audiences Love Scary, But Brand Marketers Should Too

Stacy Jones
Stacy Jones
March 5, 2014 at 5:55 AM

1 minute read

Big Audience, Bigger Brand Recognition

As we discussed previously, the horror genre is on the rise. Not only do scary movies bring in big audiences to the theaters, but due to the low costs generally involved in creating them, the ROI is staggering.

This news alone is great for brand marketers, but now, research conducted by Lea Dunn at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business should make these brand marketers even more enthusiastic about investing in horror films. According to the study, brands are more remembered when a person is scared, and even more so when the viewer feels alone.

The Emotional Impact

In the experiment, participants were exposed to various brands under different emotions: Excitement, sadness, humor, fear, neutral, etc. At the end, these individuals were surveyed in order to determine the resulting sentiment toward each brand.

The study proved that when respondents were scared, they developed an increased emotional attachment toward surrounding branded products, resulting in a higher recall rate and a more positive association.

Why? The emotional instinct a child feels to cling to a teddy bear when he/she is scared is the same type of instinct all humans share – whether it be to potato chips in-theater, or even just ten seconds, according to the survey findings, of visual brand recognition on-screen.

Humans naturally cling to other humans when scared. But while watching a movie at the theaters, when you’re typically not conversing with anyone and are fully engaged in the movie screen in front of you, this counts as feeling alone.

What this means it that brand marketers who previously shuddered at the thought of horror films should embrace the genre – especially with the millennial demographic – to gain an engagement factor that will strongly influence future brand sales.



More From Hollywood Branded

Are you interested in integrating product placement into your entertainment marketing mix, but simply don’t know where to start? There is so much more to product placement than you may think,  and it is important to be educated about the key tactics to best fit your brand. Download our Product Placement 101 Infographic today to start learning more!

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Sources: Bloomberg Businessweek, Brandchannel.com


Topics: Strategic Partnerships, strategy

Stacy Jones

Written by Stacy Jones

Stacy Jones, Hollywood Branded's founder and CEO, has over twenty six years of leadership experience building global entertainment branding campaigns for top Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of brands. Her career started after receiving her BFA in Theater Production & Scenic Design from the University of Arizona. Acknowledged as an expert in the field, she has appeared on CNN and MSNBC; spoken at conferences around the globe from Germany to Beijing; and has been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, Financial Times, The Economist, Brandweek, Advertising Age, Variety, B&C and Mediaweek amongst others. Originally from Texas, you will still hear her ya’ll as she gathers the team for strategy planning sessions. Like all true entrepreneurs, Stacy is an adventurer at her core – having sky dived, hang glided off bi-planes, swam with crocs while rafting the Zambezi in Africa, photographed grizzly bears in Alaska, trekked Mayan ruins in Belize, explored the ocean as an avid scuba diver, and who loves owning an advertising agency where she swims with a different type of Hollywood shark on a daily basis.


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