Posts Tagged ‘#research’

Guinness’s ‘Surfer’ ad didn’t do that well in research ‘but we ignored it’ – In defense of research….

February 7, 2019

This post was prompted by this article https://www.marketingweek.com/2018/06/13/guinness-surfer/ I saw on Linkedin, I had lots to say on it but the word limit on the comments box would not let me say everything I wanted to say, so here goes…

Just because an ad does not do well in research, does not mean that the outcome of the research is to say “it is not a good ad” or indeed that “the idea should not be used”. As someone who has done a wealth of research into communications testing and development, I have seen lots of ads / concepts that did not do well that went on to be incredibly successful ads. That is because the job of research is not to ‘kill the idea’ it is to tell you how to make the idea be the very best is can.

This works best when as researchers we are working in partnership with both the client and the agency (not brought in at the 11th hr to test an idea). This enables all involved to foster a more collaborative process that get the best result out of the research.

When it comes to researching ads the starting point should always be that every concept has a chance of success and our role is not to kill them off, but to understand their potential. A researcher’s job is not to ‘beat-up’ on the ad, as a researcher I want a successful outcome for all involved and as such we approach the evaluation of any communications with an open mind. Our task is to look for constructive ways to improve on the possible success of the communications being tested. In order to do this, context is important, we have a much better chance of understanding how people react to a concept if we have a deeper understanding of their overall attitudes to the category say.

Also the way in which we evaluate ads if paramount, first impressions are key (and more closely mirror real world exposure) so we should focus on initial reactions and not allow people to spend too long talking about a concept to the point where they are just looking for things to say or critique. The gut feel viewers have is often the most powerful insight we get about what’s working and what’s not.

In addition, people don’t always say exactly what they mean and we should look beyond their verbal messages to ensure we understand the meaning behind what is being said (or not). So although consumers will often tell us what they “think” of an ad we should not expect them to always automatically identify the factors which are “influencing their thinking”, this is where the researchers expertise at understanding what is often left unsaid is critical to interpreting how the communications are working (or not).

As research I also often hear “the ads are not is a format ready or best for testing”, however an ad does not need to be in its final polished format in order to test the ‘idea’ or ‘concept’. There are all manner of ways to use stimulus to stimulate a conversation with consumers about a communications idea. Not only that, but consumers are far more marketing savvy than we sometimes give them credit for and if we take the time to explain the stimulus at hand they get it and are willing to ‘work with us’. On the topic of consumers being more marketing savvy now than ever before we should never underestimate their ability to understand the ‘idea’ behind the ad being tested, they often provide us with the ‘gem’ that gets the idea across the line.

Anyway, the main point I want to make it that ultimately as researchers we are hired to have an opinion and should avoid ‘sitting on the fence’, but this opinion should always be well-informed and constructive and when it is, this helps ensure ads that don’t do well in research have a chance to go to become award winning ads.

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