Thales S. Teixeira

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Thales Teixeira is an assistant professor in the Marketing Unit. He holds a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Michigan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in statistics at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Before joining HBS, Professor Teixeira was an independent quantitative marketing consultant to technology and financial services companies, among them Microsoft, HP, and Prudential. He researches the Economics of Attention.

His research domain comprises advertising and the Economics of Attention, particularly within TV and Internet videos. With developments in information technology and telecom, videos – both commercial and noncommercial – will become pervasive in many activities of daily life. Discovering how to communicate effectively through videos will therefore become increasingly important over time.

Professor Teixeira is also a proponent of using eye-tracking and facial-tracking technologies to engineer the design of video communications moment-to-moment in order to attract and retain viewer attention. Among his most recent findings, published in Marketing Science, is the optimality of what he terms brand pulsing (brief and frequent insertions of the brand logo on-screen) in TV commercials as a means to minimize ad skipping.

  1. Thales Teixeira to speak at Cannes Advertising Festival 2013

    Successful viral advertising campaigns have to benefit the brand AND the consumers' sharing needs. This one hour session examines the novel concept of advertising symbiosis (i.e. creating marketing campaigns that mutually benefit the brand and the consumer). By drawing on extensive research in the past 3 years involving almost 3,000 consumers and 200 ads, Prof. Teixeira will give insights into producing content that is more likely to go viral. Launching low-cost viral ad campaigns can also be improved through the concept of ‘Lean advertising,’ which involves four non-traditional methods to distribute video content online using a low budget.

  2. How to Profit from “Lean Advertising”

    This article introduces the concept of Lean Advertising, i.e., how to use non-traditional approaches to create and distribute advertising using extremely low-cost tools on the Web. A framework for Lean Advertising is proposed that identifies the four ways in which companies can execute marketing campaigns with low budgets.
  3. Why, When and How Much to Entertain Consumers in Advertisements?

    Can you have too much entertainment in an ad? The data suggests it’s possible. In this study, in partnership with colleagues from the MIT Media Lab, we used facial tracking technology to evaluate the impact that different levels of entertainment in TV ads had on consumers’ nearly 5000 ad viewing and purchasing decisions. There is much evidence that the presence of positive forms of entertainment (e.g., content that is clever, humorous, creative) in TV advertisements can increase the effectiveness of the ads by making them both more attractive and more persuasive. We found, however, that too much (or misplaced) entertainment, can actually be detrimental to the persuasiveness of the ad. By explaining why, when, and how much to entertain consumers, we identify how advertisers can maximize the persuasiveness and effectiveness of their advertising in order to increase sales.

    > Academic paper   > Summary article

  4. Live interview on "THE NEW SCIENCE OF VIRAL ADS"

    Thales Teixeira, Harvard Business School professor, explains what makes us want to watch—and share—certain commercials. For more, go to the article The New Science of Viral Ads.


  5. Advertising Symbiosis

    Viral advertising has come to mainstream marketing with the promise of saving on ever increasing media costs, as well as higher customer engagement via word-of-mouth effects. Here, I summarize the findings of a recent stream of my eye- and face-tracking research on what makes consumers most willing to engage with and share ads. If brands expect to replace paid media (e.g. TV), as distributors of commercial content, with consumer sharing, they will have to provide incentives: monetary or not. I show how viewers who send ads that go viral in their social networks desire to be rewarded with ‘social capital' in the process. If done right, this “advertising symbiosis” can benefit both brands and consumers.

  6. Brand Pulsing in TV Commercials

    Advertisers pay millions of dollars to air TV ads that are subsequently ignored by a third of viewers. We offer a simple, inexpensive solution for marketers to retain brand recognition. Key concepts include:

    • Repeating or "pulsing" brief images of a brand can significantly reduce the likelihood that viewers will zap it.
    • Altering commercials to mimic a pulsing strategy is a virtually cost-free fix for a significant payoff.
    • Viewers' attention should be managed as any other scarce resource.

    > Academic paper   > Summary article