Don’t waste your time pre-testing ads

Most advertising pre-testing is a waste of time; focusing on the wrong metrics and measuring them in a false environment.

You may remember Stella Artois’ Reassuringly Expensive TV ad from the 1980s – it helped propel the brand from a niche player to #1 in the category. Yet, in traditional pre-testing it was underwhelming, with the research report flagging concerns about recall and comprehension.

The reason it worked is because the ad resonated with consumers at an emotional rather than rational level. And the reason why it didn’t score well in the pre-test is because it made the common mistake of tapping into the conscious rather than crucial, subconscious response. As ground-breaking work by Binet & Field and others has shown, ads which are emotional have more impact long term.

“Emotive campaigns – those that rely on emotional appeal rather than just information and persuasion – tend to be more successful at building brands than those with a rational product message, even in highly rational product categories…”

Binet & Field, 2007

Nowadays, a lot of ad testing claims to measure the emotional response, often though too much focus is put on the nature of the response – when all that really matters is the strength of the emotional response

We’ve teamed up with Dr Robert Heath (author of Seducing the Subconscious and The Hidden Power of Advertising) to relaunch the CEP TestTM – the first and most accurate measurement of the emotive power of an ad. It’s been used by clients in 17 markets to test over 6,000 ads.

The CEP TestTM doesn’t waste your time and money measuring metrics which don’t inform how effective an ad will be. Instead, it delivers four measures:

  • Emotive Power: the ability to influence consumers’ feelings through empathy or creativity
  • Cognitive Power: the ability to impart new or interesting information
  • Empathy: the ability to make people empathise with and feel closer to the brand
  • Creativity: the ability to make the brand seem imaginative and in-touch

Emotive Power is the key metric. In validation work, ads which score more highly against this measure lead to bigger shifts in brand favourability over time.

Contact us at [email protected] to find out more about this one of a kind test.