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Copy Testing Without Accountability
Oct22

Copy Testing Without Accountability

Most advertisers would love to know in advance whether the new ads in which they invest so much were going to actually work in-market. So they copy test, often testing several different concepts, selecting a winner, and then fine-tuning on the basis of the diagnostic feedback they gain. But how well does copy testing work? Two of the larger copy testing systems have been developed and refined – reverse engineered, really – on the basis of those companies’ in-market measurement systems. For reasons discussed below, there is a fairly wide margin of error in the predictive accuracy of these systems, but advertisers who use them do at least improve their odds of success. Then there is the rest of copy testing – the non-accountable systems. Copy tests that claim to predict how well the ad is going to work in-market (either via traditional survey designs or biometric measurement) but have no in-market feedback loop cannot provide any degree of confidence in their predictions. If you keep testing ads, keep deciding which are the winners based on getting better scores on your metrics, but haven’t validated and refined your algorithms, how can a client be sure that your system works? The ‘diagnostics’ that are provided by these non-accountable copy testing systems are equally suspect. The supplier can tell you with a high degree of confidence how to make the ad better. But if better means it’ll score higher in their system, and scoring higher in their system has no apparent correlation with in-market success, you’re refining to the copy test, not to the real world. Based in part on the frustration with traditional copy testing, another new category of diagnostic systems has emerged. Because we know that advertising often works most powerfully on an emotional level, advertisers have been experimenting with brain wave analyses, facial expression tracking and other means of observing how ads make people feel. Some have found this feedback to be of value as they seek to improve their ads’ ability to connect and persuade. These emotion-based measurement systems are, however, a long way from providing predictions of in-market performance, with most not even attempting to build quantitative links with actual in-market performance. But even the copy testing systems that do have the feedback/refinement loop struggle mightily to provide reliable predictions. You’d think it wouldn’t be so hard – Will this ad engage? Will the brand be remembered? Will it persuade? Copy testing fails in large part because it does not acknowledge that the world has changed. First, people don’t watch TV the way they used to – there’s less family around the TV all watching together,...

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Cord-Cutting, Tipping Points and Advertising
Aug20

Cord-Cutting, Tipping Points and Advertising

Recent reports confirm that the number of consumers who have decided that they don’t need cable companies anymore has increased dramatically lately. Clearly, Wall Street is worried about this trend, with the large media companies losing as much as $60 billion in value in a recent two-day period. When we listen to cord-cutters, and to those who haven’t cut the cord, it’s clear that the trend has reached a tipping point. Cord-cutters, comprised largely but not wholly of Millennials, are proud of their choice, and are advocating to their friends who haven’t made move. Many of those Millennials who haven’t cut the cord seem slightly embarrassed, feeling the need to explain why they too haven’t cut yet. And then, there’s that group of incoming consumers, the ‘cord-nevers’. These are young Millennials, and the soon-to-be adult group, Gen Z, who move into adulthood and household formation having never established a TV subscriber relationship and who feel no need to do so. Many experienced cord-free college dorm rooms, and learned early that there are many ways to view the content they need without a cable subscription. But what’s bad for the media companies may actually be good for advertisers – at least those who stay on top of consumer trends and have the agility to adapt to the changing environment. Sure, it was a lot easier to buy advertising impressions when everyone was just watching TV. But many of those impressions didn’t actually make any impression, because so many consumers were so disengaged with what they were tuned in to. In the new world of consumer as CEO of their own entertainment, advertisers can expect a much more engaged audience. The viewing environment used to be one in which the TV was often the ‘talking lamp’ in the room – constantly on, but often with little attention being paid on the screen. While Nielsen counted every household that had a set on as part of the viewing audience, advertisers had little hope that their target consumer would actually engage with the commercials that lit up the screen for :30 seconds or so. In contrast, today’s cord-cutters have taken control, becoming CEO of their content – what they watch and when they watch it. Sure, for some of the content, the commercials are optional. But the majority of these consumers say they’d prefer to have a few commercials sprinkled in rather than pay for the content. And they are actually watching what they have chosen – giving advertisers a better chance of holding their engagement during those commercial moments. Commercial content will still need to be captivating, well branded and persuasive to...

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It’s a Color-Coded World
Jul16

It’s a Color-Coded World

Consumers have long been trained to associate certain colors with specific brands. Take rental cars: I’m confident if I show you the color red and ask you about a rental car brand, you’ll think of Avis, orange will make you think of Budget, gold will make you think of Hertz, and you’ll associate green with National. Similarly, in the telecommunications business, it’s as if representatives from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint sat around a table and divided the color wheel. Tiffany & Co. blue is unmistakable (and trademarked), UPS is synonymous with brown and John Deere associates with forest green. Such examples establish the brands’ identities with a clarity that is enviable as brands across sectors struggle to differentiate themselves. But does anybody care? After all, the fact that UPS is associated with brown doesn’t really say anything about the brand, does it? And what does red say about Avis or green about National? Being associated with a color is a hugely valuable asset for any brand. One of the biggest challenges for brand marketers is to generate instantaneous brand recognition whenever their target consumers encounter the brand, whether in advertising, in store or other via other touch points. Owning a color can prompt brand identification, allowing consumers to know how to find the product and instantly recognize it. DOWNLOAD AMA’S ARTICLE...

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What’s Influencing Latinas in the Beauty Aisle
Jul07

What’s Influencing Latinas in the Beauty Aisle

You’re not going to the grocery store without your makeup on, are you?” “Your father is going to be home in an hour—and I haven’t even done my hair or makeup!” These phrases may seem out of place or too traditional for much of today’s culture, but they still resonate and stand true for one of the most rapidly growing demographics in the United States, the Hispanic woman. A recent Nielsen report (www.nielsen.com) notes that “Hispanic women over-index … versus total households in terms of cosmetics consumption.” The report adds, “Hispanics are more likely to spend on hair care products than the general market, and they account for 16% of the total U.S. sales to this category. They also drive 14% of overall fragrances sales and 13% of cosmetics sales, the top two beauty care categories for Hispanic shopper spending.” Today, the beauty and cosmetic industry has considerable opportunity to better serve one of the most engaged and invested consumer segments. Click HERE for...

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Play Offense, Not Defense to Win Hispanic Engagement
May28

Play Offense, Not Defense to Win Hispanic Engagement

Everyone knows that Hispanics are a fast growing, key group of consumers in the marketplace, but do advertisers’ investments reflect that? In a recent Media Post article, Jose Villa writes about the visible trend of marketers increasing investments in the Hispanic Market as a defensive move. Advertisers are experiencing decreases in sales among their General Market target, so they then decide to invest money behind strategies that would specifically target Hispanics. Is leaving advertising to the Hispanic consumer as a “last resort” the right move to make? Probably not. Villa details how various elements, such as demographic, technological, and consumer preference shifts are creating headwinds for bigger brands in the marketplace and how these brands are responding by extending their advertising reach to Hispanics. Although it is good practice to create ads that specifically speak to the Hispanic consumer, it’s also known that Hispanics are engaging with your General Market targeted tactics as well. Which raises the question—why not try and target both markets from the very start? If marketers start their campaign with synergistic ads that employ slight differences in order to better reach General Market consumers versus Hispanics, there is a better chance that Hispanic consumers will engage with multiple touch points and, thus, a greater chance for persuasion. Lesson to be learned: don’t wait until your brand begins to take a downturn before you target Hispanics. If you know that engaging Hispanics is something you’re eventually going to do, reach out to this particular consumer group from the start in order to avoid having to execute defensive tactics to reverse declining...

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