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Direct mail case study: BBC gets in your face

While brands are investing more into content marketing, no one can confidently measure how effective a content marketing piece is. Well, until now. BBC’s direct marketing piece showcased the organisation’s new research which used state-of-the-art facial coding technology to understand the emotional impact of content-led marketing and show its effectiveness.

No other similar research has been conducted by any publisher before. In its research, the BBC asked 5,153 digital consumers of English language international news across Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore,
US, Canada and Germany to view content on

Facial movements were recorded on a second by second basis and then coded into six possible emotions: sadness, puzzlement, happiness, fear, rejection and surprise. This enabled the BBC to fi nd out the
emotional response of each person and how they truly felt about the content they were viewing – rather than just relying on traditional analytics such as dwell time and page views.

The concept of the DM piece centred around the insight that one’s natural (facial) reaction is a more accurate reflection of one’s feelings towards the advertisement than a solicited comment. The DM piece aimed to simply deliver the key research findings on an eye-catching mirror with key facts printed on
it and an audio visual screen within the pack which played a short video summarising the key findings from the research.

The DM piece was targeted at brand marketers and media agency staff who are already investing in content marketing or plan to in the future. Alongside the DM piece, we also issued a press release to the trade press and also hosted a launch event in Singapore for trade audiences and clients. So far, it has received about a 10% response from the event in the form of enquires. With future events planned for
Japan, Hong Kong and Australia, a total of 250 pieces will be distributed across Asia.

To showcase the BBC’s new research which uses facial recognition technology to show the effectiveness of content-led marketing.

Target audience:
Brand marketers and media agency staff who are already investing in content marketing or plan to in the future.

A 10% response from the Singapore event in terms of enquiries.


The writer is Terri Seow, vice-president, marketingand insights, APAC, BBC World News


The Direct Mail Case Study is brought to you by Marketing Magazine in association with DMrocket.


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