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Ad of the Week – in the Spirit of the Upcoming French Presidential Election

At the moment, our Feelin Application – the users of which are called ‘Feelers’ – covers Belgium and France. However, we are currently working hard on making our Application available also in other countries, which means that you can test your videos very soon also in the UK and the US!

Having said that, as many of our Feelers are living in France, we decided to dedicate the fourth video of our ‘ad of the week’ format to the upcoming French Presidential Election which, as you probably know, are scheduled for 10 and 24 April 2022.

Sounds boring? Don’t worry, we are not showing you any campaign videos of the candidates (at least for the time being!). Instead of doing so, we will present you the results of our French Feelers’ reactions to a satirical video ad of Free, called ‘Déclaration du Président’, made in the spirit of the upcoming election.

The crucial questions are once again: Did it work? Did it make the audience react? Did they stay focused until the very end?

The simple answer is: it did work pretty well actually. Do you want to discover more precisely how? If so, you can find the entire analysis below.

If you do not know which video we are talking about, watch it first and let emotions invade you – or not!

Also, if you missed our previous ad of the week analyses, no worries; you can read them all: here.

If you don't have enough time to read the whole analysis: Check out the main results below × Dismiss alert


People living in France watched the video on their smartphones





Emotional impact

reacted 43%

showed positive emotions 75.8%

Attentional engagement

stayed fully engaged throughout the video 77.5%

Post video survey

liked the video 78%

Emotional Analysis

In this section, we will look at the emotions the audience felt when watching the video.

Free’s satirical video made 43% of the audience reacted, which implies 26.04% more emotional reaction than the average (the score being of 16.81%). This is an excellent score, as you should know that the majority of ads do only provoke little reactions or no reaction at all. In terms of comparison, we can note that, for example, the emotional reach score of the Coca-Cola Christmas ad, which performed well in our analysis, was 24% and the one of the McDonald’s Christmas ad was 22%.

Coming back to Free’s video ad, no less than 75.8% of those reactions were positive reactions. Although this video did not reach as high scores in this regard as the one of Coca Cola (with 84.9% of positive reactions) and the one of McDonald’s (with 77.5% of positive reactions), the score remains very good, implying 27% more of positive reactions than an average video.

In their Study on ‘Emotion-Induced Engagement in Internet Video Advertisements(Journal of Marketing Research, April 2012, Vol. 49, No 2, pp. 144 – 159), T. Teixeira, M. Wedel and R. Pieters have identified, based on empirical observations, certain trajectories of emotions that increase the audience’s engagement in video advertisements. One of these trajectories identified is a stable-and-peak trajectory which is described as a typical trajectory ‘for certain mystery advertisements that present the key emotional scene at the finale, targeting classical conditioning of attitudes through emotional reinforcement at the end’.

We recently published a more detailed article on the different emotion trajectories based on the above-mentioned study. If you are interested in knowing more, please read the entire article. Here, we can only note that Free’s video can be considered as a slightly modified version of this stable-and-peak emotion trajectory, having its emotional peak rather at the end of the video ad (see the table below).

As the table shows us, three very minor peaks can be detected at 59 seconds – where the owner of Free, Xavier Niel, is saying that he will not a normal president as he is more than 50 years old, he does not use Rolex nor drink Corona, and does not have a hidden daughter – as well as at 1:06 and 1:24. At 1:06, he is explaining that once he has promised something, he also keeps the promises; at 1:24, he is saying that his aim is to be the operator of all French people.

Interestingly, as you can from the second table below, these three humoristic scenes did not touch our female Feelers.

However, what is certain is that the final peak at the end did make both women and men react! This final and only real peak happens at 1:28 when the owner of Free ends his speech by promising that his ambition is to be the operator of all French people and help to them communicate – without screwing them: ‘Mon ambition est d’être l’opérateur de tous les Français et de vous aider à communiquer – sans vous niquer!’.

It thus seems that the stable-and-peak emotion trajectory worked pretty well in the context of this video ad as regards the emotional impact, in particular amongst its male audience. This particular trajectory has, however, its weaknesses that will be explained next.

Attention retention

In this section, we will look at the proportion of people who watched the video until the end.

What are the characteristics of an effective ad? Not only it needs to make people react in the expected way, but it should also attract and especially keep their attention engaged during the first few seconds so that they will watch it until the end.

As you can see it from the table above, Free succeeded in keeping most people engaged in the content, with 77.6% of the audience remaining engaged until the end. This score is 3.5% lower than the average of the videos we have tested (see the grey line on the chart).

In addition to the fact that the audience’s attention dropped rather quickly from the very beginning and stayed below the average until the very end, the second table below also shows us the differences between men and women. The attention of women decreased more rapidly at the beginning of the video until 8 seconds and then stayed quite stable with a last drop at 0:52, the final score being of 80%. On the other hand, the attention of men dropped less significantly at the very beginning but more significantly during the whole video, the final score being of 75%.

The fact that the retention score dropped rather quickly from the very beginning and stayed below the average until the very end could have been avoided by making the video shorter and using another – more optimal – emotion trajectory than the stable-and-peak trajectory.

As already said, you can find more detailed explanations in the specific article we recently published on this topic. However, one of the main weaknesses of the stable-and-peak trajectory concerns retention; as the peak only appears at the end of the video, the audience (or at least a part of them) may lose their interest more easily and not watch it until the end. Therefore, it is important to include positive emotions, such as joy and surprise, throughout the video to increase the audience’s engagement in watching it.

Survey results

This last section is all about the outcome of the message of the ad: Did the audience like it? Will they share it with their friends, via social media etc.? Are at least some of the audience now so interested in the product/ service in question that they will potentially buy it in the near future?

Survey results are an accurate way to see if the video in question touched its audience. As you can see it from the table below, Free’s ad succeeded in making nice scores (in blue) beyond the benchmarks (in purple) in all the evaluated fields (likeability; shareability; arousal; purchase intent and interest). The video promoter score, which takes all these fields into account, of Free’s video ad is 78% which is 21% more than in average. Well done!


This analysis can be concluded by saying that the risky satirical video ad of Free, which directly tackles Emmanuel Macron, François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Éric Zemmour, did work amongst our French Feelers. The main issue concerns the retention of the audience, as explained above – by using Feelin, also this issue could have been easily solved.

At Feelin, we are happy to help you to find the most optimal emotion trajectory and the right length to be used for your video, as well as include right emotions at right moments to increase the audience’s engagement in watching it!

If you found the analysis interesting and meaningful, feel free to visit our online platform to discover more use cases and explore all insights.

Also, in case you have any questions, or you want to book a demo, do not hesitate to contact us!

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