How do you evaluate advertising?

I’m frequently surprised by the things people say when evaluating ads and concepts. Frequently it’s “I like it.” Or, “I don’t like it.”

Every now and then you hear something that’s shockingly stupid, like, “We Indians are emotional people and we don’t respond to rational benefits.”Here’s the deal. There is no universal “right way” to pre-judge or test an advertising campaign. There is no “check-list” that guarantees the campaign will achieve the desired results. There is no “guaranteed” research methodology.

In fact, there have been several high profile campaigns that performed poorly in research, then went on to win awards and market share.

When it comes to evaluating ads, there are several approaches. Here are three of the best. As well as the very worst.

> R.O.I. Not the ROI you might think. This one stands for Relevance. Originality. Impact. If you’ve worked at Leo Burnett, this will look familiar.

> A Direct response check list. If you’re flying direct, you need a pre-flight check list for email, DRTV, Internet, print and snail mail. “Got the offer up front?” Check. “Is the call to action clear?” Check. And so on.

> Pre / Post Persuasion. This is the formal research methodology that yields the best results.

> The “I” way. Perhaps the most common way to evaluate creative work is based on statistical unreliability: The reaction of a single individual.

What do you think of that method? What do you see as the pros and cons?

Steven Lorin McNamara

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