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“High-Energy Audio in Advertising: A Large-scale Investigation of TV Commercials”, Journal of Marketing Research


A trend reported by both academics and practitioners is that advertising on TV has become increasingly energetic. This study investigates the association between the energy level in ad content and consumers’ tendency of ad-tuning. Using a data set of over 27,000 TV commercials delivered to U.S. homes during the period between 2015 and 2018, the authors first present a framework to algorithmically measure the energy level in ad content from the video of ads. This algorithm-based measure is then compared to human-perceived energy levels, which shows that the measure is related to the level of arousal stimulated by ad content. By relating the energy levels in ad content with the tendency of ad-tuning using two empirical procedures, the authors document the following. Overall, more energetic commercials are likely to be tuned in more or avoided less by viewers. The positive association between energy levels in ad content and ad-tuning is statistically significant after controlling for placement and other aspects of commercials. However, the association varies across product categories and program genres. The main implication of this study is that advertisers should pay attention to components of ad content other than loudness, which has been regulated by law.




Joonhyuk Yang, Yingkang Xie, Lakshman Krishnamurthi, Purush Papatla

Date Published



Yang, Joonhyuk, Yingkang Xie, Lakshman Krishnamurthi, and Purush Papatla. 2022. “High-Energy Audio in Advertising: A Large-scale Investigation of TV Commercials”. Journal of Marketing Research.


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