Why are big advertisers still getting this wrong?
We ran a test recently on some ads that were airing in the UK during the World Cup, all from the same product category (consumer electronics).
Some of the advertisers were official World Cup sponsors; others had an alternative football sponsorship association – and we evaluated them using a new pre-test methodology that was co-created with major advertisers.
All the ads employed a football theme and the results from our unforced exposure method proved this to be a strong hook that attracted – and held - viewer notice equally well across all the ads. Strong and consistent brand name presence in each ad also led to the viewers correctly recalling which brand each ad was promoting.
What was missing?
However, one key thing was not quite right in the majority of these executions. While the product was always clearly shown, it was not always the hero of the ad. The football theme was the dominant attraction, which meant that viewers too often lost sight of the product’s actual features and benefits. Ultimately, the connection between the product and the sport was not always clear to the viewers.
Even more crucially, most of the ads were not driving a direct or indirect call to action – be that an interest to learn more about the product or brand, or a desire to go out and buy one.
The key learning
In this test we only focused on a small proportion of each brands’ advertising activity around the World Cup – however, it’s always worth remembering that, while a brand may be relevant to the event it sponsors, that relevance needs to be clearly communicated to the viewers, in order for the brand to benefit.
Our Ad FIT method identified that the strongest performer for an ad that fascinates (grabs and holds viewers’ attention), imprints (leaves a positive, branded lasting impression) and triggers (generates a direct or indirect response from viewers) was not in this case the most ‘exciting’ execution. It was the one that clearly communicated the product’s benefits in a way that was relevant to the ‘big sports event’ theme - thereby driving a timely desire for the product.