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Marketers warned against annoying interruptions on ASMR and Mukbang videos


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

October 22, 2021 | 4 min read

New research claims that ads can be less impactful when placed on 'misaligned content' like ASMR and mukbang videos where the viewer won't welcome an interruption.


For example, in Singapore, related search queries for "ASMR" increased by 55%

The research found that there was a loss of impact on purchase intent (-8%), brand respect (-9%), belief the brand is high quality (-5%), and trusted (-6%) compared to standard content when people watched misaligned content, according to Channel Factory and Magna’s “The Proximity Effect: Quantifying the Impact of Misaligned Content in the Wild West of Video” study.

“A major and critical finding of the study is that some of the most engaging misaligned content had the worst repercussions for brands,” said Kara Manatt, senior vice president of Intelligence Solutions at Magna.

“The industry should continue to learn about the effects of misaligned content and build technologies accordingly to ensure appropriate and aligned placements regardless of the video environment.”

Alex Littlejohn, managing director for the Asia Pacific at Channel Factory said the research illustrates that content alignment and suitability is a spectrum and can largely vary by verticals, brands, and campaigns.

“Consumers are increasingly aware of what type of content is considered “appropriate in general” vs. “appropriate for brands” – just because something is trendy, entertaining, a guilty pleasure or fun to watch doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for a brand to be associated with,” he explained.

“Advertisers who dive deeper into what their specific consumers’ thresholds are, and work with video partners to custom-curate campaign content targeting, will undoubtedly drive more positive brand results.”

What did the study find?

  • Misaligned content for the test brands was determined as content that commonly produces visceral reactions in people, including skin conditions (e.g. pimple-popping), ASMR (videos inducing autonomous sensory meridian response), and Mukbang (video host consumes various quantities of food).

  • Such topics continue to trend in APAC. For example, in Singapore, related search queries for "ASMR" increased by 55% respectively over the 90 days, according to Google Trends. Searches for the term "making" also increased 103% in the past 90 days.

  • Misaligned content can be categorized as displeasing, yet it’s engaging and watchable. While people rated misaligned content as less “premium” and more “triggering,” “embarrassing,” and “not safe for work,” most people chose to watch the misaligned content to completion, with 68% rating it as “entertaining.”

  • People remember a brand’s ad, but for the wrong reasons as 41% recall ads in misaligned content while 32% in standard content. However, impact on perceptions of brand thoughtfulness (-10% loss of impact) and caring about customers (-7% loss of impact) diminishes when next to misaligned content.

  • Consumers feel brands should not be aligned with certain types of content as many people felt brands who had ads in misaligned content “leaves a bad memory attached to the brand,” and found the content association to be “weird” or “low caliber” for the brand.

  • Brands are held most accountable in pre-roll environments because, in a pre-roll environment, brands are more likely to be held accountable for the content they appear next to.

  • Consumers were 1.5 times as likely to feel the brand endorsed misaligned content in a pre-roll video compared to the video card environment.

  • In a video card environment, the closer the ad, the stronger the brand association as consumers were 10% more likely to believe the brand supported the misaligned content that the ad was immediately next to compared to two videos away.

  • Brand KPIs were most likely to be harmed when the ad appeared immediately before the misaligned content, making it the biggest concern in video card environments.

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