Math Behind Eye-Catching Ads

Two USC engineers have developed a scientific model that does the math on visual-communications elements that rise above the noise & catch viewers’ attention. See David Pescovitz’s Boing Boing post, “Mathematics of Surprise”.

From the USC press release:

Analyzing such a stream, researchers can isolate stimuli with visual attributes that are unique in the mix by breaking down the signal into “feature channels,” each describing a particular attribute (i.e., color) in the mix. Such features are called “salient.” Itti himself previously developed a measure of saliency.

A parallel analysis performs similar operations, but does so over time, not space, looking for new elements suddenly appearing. This approach is said to model “novelty.”

My highly unscientific interpretation: Refresh your creative often!

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