Coca-Cola, Unilever use facial coding to measure ad effectiveness

January 23, 2013 - 

Unilever and Coca-Cola will use facial coding technology to assess the emotional impact their ads in 2013, MediaDailyNews reports.

The two companies will work with Millward Brown to assess the ads, and will use the facial coding technology – called Affdex – from Affectiva.

According to Millward Brown, this year’s commitment from Unilever and Coca-Cola represents the largest-scale adoption of facial coding technology in the industry.

The facial platform uses proprietary software to interpret viewers’ facial expressions to gauge how viewers feel about the ads they see. “Facial analysis adds depth to our understanding and builds on our validated metrics to delivery new insights in an easily applied and cost-effective way,” Graham Page, head of Millward’s neuroscience practice said.

Millward, which says it’s used the facial analysis on over 400 advertising research projects, expects to see great growth in the use of this technology this year.

Millward doesn’t only use the facial analysis to gauge effectiveness – results are also compared with survey responses to help marketers better craft and target campaigns.

Patrick Lismore, founder of emerging Dublin startup Biometric Advertising relates to the idea of identifying customers through biometrics and knowing exactly what they do and don’t like, and thinks a system of specifically targeted ads creates a more inviting environment to buy.

Lismore envisions a world where you only see ads that are relevant to you and companies can identify the customers they deal with.

“95% of the advertisements we see are untargeted ads,” Lismore said. “If I see a targeted ad, I’m more willing to take action as a consumer.”

Lismore suggests that a system of targeted ads can work both online and in-store, based on established customer biometric profiles.

“This puts the power back in consumers’ hands,” Linsmore said.

Besides targeting ads, marketers are also looking to get their hands on facial recognition technology built into TVs to monitor television ratings and get a sense of how many people are watching ads at any particular time, as well as how they are emotionally responsive to them.

According to a separate report in MediaDailNews, Nielsen is actively exploring how to apply the technology to its TV ratings panel.

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj