New Study Explains Why Fans Prefer Marvel Films Over DC Films

Movie MarvelDC by Joey Paur
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That's right! An official study was conducted to try and explain why more fans prefer Marvel films over DC films. The study was done by an automated market research tech provider named ZappiStore. They say that the success of Marvel can be linked to the viewer’s emotional engagement with the superheroes while watching movie trailers.

What ZappiStore did was test a viewer’s emotional engagement with a series of Marvel and DC movie trailers by using a facial coding and emotion recognition platform called Affectiva. According to ADWEEK:

The respondents participating in the Marvel/DC study, and others like it, only need internet connectivity and a standard web camera. As viewers watch stimulus, Affectiva can measure their moment-by-moment facial expressions of emotions. The results for this study were aggregated and displayed in a dashboard.

They tested these people using a number of DC and Marvel movie trailers to measure viewer emotional engagement to find out which elements of the trailers impacted them most.

ZappiStore says the data shows the DC trailers received a positive response from their special effects and explosive action, rather than from their characters. However, fans show a strong affinity toward Marvel’s superheroes and react positively toward its trailers’ humor, driving the higher levels of emotional engagement with its trailers.
A strong example is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer. It resonated the strongest with respondents, with the study finding 78 percent of viewers as “lovers” of the trailer. It’s set to a popular song (in this case the 1977 Fleetwood Mac classic The Chain), and features entertaining characters making wisecracks. There’s something here that attracts comic and non-comic book fans alike. And there’s still plenty of action.

That shows that the Marvel characters resonate with fans more long-term and the big action sequences have more of a short-term instant gratification. They go on to say:

Marvel trailers also index higher on the “brand linkage” score (how well they fit with a respondent’s image of the comics), indicating that inconsistent DC character connections could be having a negative effect on the audience’s emotional engagement with its trailers.

This whole study is actually kind of fascinating to see. It offers a lot of insight into things I never really thought about. However, I would be interested to know what results that the Wonder Woman trailer would have given off because that movie wasn't included in the study. The films included were Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Captain America: Civil War, Justice League, and Batman v Superman.

The data ZappiStore received from the test not only indicates why Marvel consistently beats DC at the box office, but also offers an insight into brand consistency and messaging in entertainment advertising. ZappiStore’s study shows that although set pieces, explosions and special effects in DC movie trailers do cause an uplift on the trailer success metrics, it’s Marvel’s consistency with brand affinity and character connection that drives a far higher level of emotional engagement and beats DC across all metrics.

ZappiStore research architect Ernie Collings explains that their findings were unexpected, saying:

"We were surprised to see, across all trailers tested, that the emotional response was lower than expected for set pieces and special effects, particularly in the genre we were looking at. The results indicate the way DC can reboot and change characters across trilogies or between TV to film might be having a detrimental effect on how well the public connects with those characters."

It would be interesting to know if Marvel and DC would be interested in using this kind of information to help them make better movies in the future. What do you think of this study that was conducted? Do you agree with it, or do you think it's bullshit?

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