3 Critical Factors for Advertising Effectiveness Today

W. Edwards Deming once said, “without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.” Nowhere is this more true than in the ad world, where creative brilliance can sometimes go horribly wrong if an ad doesn’t send the right message to its intended consumer audience. If your advertising isn’t effective, you are wasting your money and your time.

Examples that come to mind include Pepsi’s 2017 campaign, in which Kendall Jenner implied that police brutality and the grievances of protesters could be resolved by the simple offering of the beverage.  The message goals here may have been a Pepsi brand counterpart to Coca-Cola’s iconic 1971 “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” ad, but unfortunately, the execution came off as shallow, tone-deaf, and offensive.

Market research has for a long time provided methodologies to test the relevance, credibility, and emotional impact of ad creative, delivering key insights to the creative process.  Armed with thoughtfully prepared, accurate, and easy-to-interpret data, companies are better equipped to reflect consumer wants, needs, and values, while improving sales and brand recognition.  In today’s culture, anything less can be devastating.

Brands and marketers need to pay attention to three critical factors to ensure their advertising is effective today.

Appropriateness vs. Effectiveness

  1. Appropriateness vs. Effectiveness

In today’s age of fear, anxiety, and anger, ads need to find the right balance between being effective — striking an emotional cord and making you want to buy the product — and appropriate given the culture, social and political climate. Brands are increasingly being called out for insensitivity or virtue signaling devoid of real commitment.

Anheuser Busch’s 2020 ad campaign depicting empty stadiums during the Covid-19 lockdown was appropriate but ultimately ineffective.  The ad lingered over-sentimentality and the shared experience of isolation during 2020, but they forgot a critical aspect: to actually advertise beer.  Ultimately, while the message may be appreciated, the lack of brand recognition makes this ad forgettable and fails to recruit potential customers.  Fortunately, the brewing company improved its messaging in a playful, recognizable, and updated format through their 2020 Budweiser “Wassup” commercial.  The ad revamped the classic commercial from 1999 by dubbing over the line “watching the game and having a bud,” to “quarantine and having a bud.”  The original ad was memorable enough to provide brand recognition, the change is subtle, humorous, and relatable.  This marriage of nostalgia and current events is comforting instead of jarring or overly sentimental. 

  1. Data Quality

Traditional survey research methods are increasingly suffering problems with quality.  In an age of mass panel fraud, survey bot farms, and professional survey respondents who spend all day collecting as many rewards as possible, getting accurate and well-thought-out data is an ever-increasing struggle.  Results range from thoughtless and inaccurate to downright nonsensical.  There is a need for respondent data quality checks and new methods to find respondents through text-to-survey and social media methods.  This level of quality monitoring is tedious and time-consuming, and it can be tempting to cut corners.  However, this attention to detail is crucial when it comes to interpreting survey data.

Data Quality

  1. Cost and Time

Research needs to move at the speed of business.  Ad tests need to run in days, not weeks, using proven methodologies and best practices for data quality.  Consumer surveys should cost a few thousand dollars, not tens of thousands.  Survey automation technology increasingly makes it possible to design and field a survey in hours instead of weeks, with full presentations delivered within days.

Cost and Time

At response:AI, we have the tools and know-how to address these needs.  We have revamped traditional ad testing questionnaires to measure appropriateness, genuine brand commitment, and the potential to offend.  Our team works diligently to comb our surveys and weed out fraudulent and low-quality responses so you know that you can trust the data presented.  And we can get it done fast, at a budget that won’t require Board approval.  Our cost-effective, timely, high-quality data is automatically generated into a fully customizable, easy-to-understand PowerPoint presentation.  

How effective is your advertising? Find out by contacting us today to schedule a demo and begin your journey with response:AI.


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