are aired (regardless of how they scored in copy tests), the time forrevision is pre-production!
Below the surface exploration
-Some of the most successfulcommercials evoke a mood, or an emotion. Professional probing andprojective techniques are often needed to help the respondentsverbalize feelings and associations.
Quick, competitive assessments
-In a category where comparativeadvertising proliferates, qualitative advertising research can providea rapid reading on how consumers are reacting to a competitor'snew ad or claim. It can also provide direction as to whether youneed to counter with your own advertising. AT&T, for example,regularly schedules focus groups to test their ads and theircompetitors' ads for this purpose.
-Sometimes marketplace necessities do not leavetime to quantitatively test finished commercials. A quick series of focus groups can tell whether the finished spot will be an asset or aliability.
One-on-one's versus groups
-For copy development and refinement,focus groups work well. The group can encourage creativity, and theideas of each respondent spark associations and ideas from others.Reacting to, and building upon each other's ideas can be aneffective means of creating the theme of an ad, or refining anexecution.For disaster checks, or when you need to determine if subtle pointsor moods are being conveyed, in-depth interviews work best. This isalso true for business-to-business ad research, where differences inknowledge among the group members might lead to differentreactions individually versus in a group.
Number of ads to test
-Qualitatively, it is generally better to testmore than one ad at a time. Using three executions gives therespondents a basis for comparison, helps them verbalize theirthoughts and feelings, and minimizes fatigue and confusion. If youonly have one execution to test, you can also include one or more of your old ads, or one or more of your competitors' ads.
-According to research conducted by HarveyMagier of Consumer Outlook, Inc., 'Rough and finished commercialsevoke similar patterns of consumer response...Finished commercialsdo not create meaningfully stronger positive attitudes toward thebrand." However, 'finished commercials are significantly moreemotionally involving and entertaining than rough executions," soeither they should not be tested together, or this difference shouldbe factored into the results. If the ad relies heavily on emotion orimagery, the format should approximate finished as closely aspossible.
Key reaction variables
-My experience (which for the most part wasconfirmed by the findings of the Advertising Research Foundation'sCopy Research Validity Project) is that you need to elicit reactions inthree areas, easily remembered by the acronym "ALL."