Campaign Pre-Test – A new approach
One of the types of qualitative research that Checon has carried out the most in these 25 years of experience in the market are the pre-tests of advertising campaigns, whether for films, concepts or even graphic pieces.
Apparently the analyzes and results presented by Checon must be on the right track, given the volume and the return of a large part of the agencies and advertisers to other different jobs over time
Like most other players, we have also normally used the technique of focus groups and, as a rule, with segmentations by age groups, socioeconomic classes and most of the time by geographic regions
Thus, for smaller evaluations, we have carried out an average of around 9 groups and, in a large part of national campaigns, of larger size, there is often a demand for more than 20 focus groups
The use of verbatim with edited audios, with the statements and positions of the participants, was an innovation developed by Checon that added a lot of information and more understanding to the comments and suggestions that we present as recommendations
In addition to a high capacity for convincing, the audios invariably made the testimonies real, more credible, added feeling and humor to the situations, considerably enriching the presentations.
So much so that, countless times, the interest of agencies and advertisers was concentrated almost entirely on the audios themselves, given the strength of the messages and information transmitted directly from the target audience
But in several situations in these pre-tests, it was not always possible to have an absolutely clear and undoubted answer to some questions of a subjective or emotional nature of the campaign concepts.
The dominant impression was that there was still a lack of a more adequate and reliable metric to support these questions, since the focus groups, by themselves, were not always sufficient to clarify all doubts, both from advertisers and the agencies themselves.
Among the cases of responses that were not always satisfactory were the impact of the campaign in which the commercial was watching, or the extent to which certain positions were effectively perceived as ‘security’, ‘trust’, or even what message was actually apprehended
In an exploratory way, we have already tried to complement the focus group assessments with individual footage of the participants to assess reactions based on changes in facial expressions, but without much success, as the variations are barely noticeable
Or even with the attempt to use other biometric measurement techniques such as GSR (skin current conductance), used abroad to predict the box office of films and plays, but still with results that are less than expected and unclear to laypeople.
In international congresses, both from ESOMAR and NMSBA, we have been constantly looking for new options that can, in a transparent and mainly clear way for agencies and advertisers, add other supporting elements to such questions.
This insistence by Checon Pesquisa to innovate, as well as to diversify the technique, for a better understanding of people’s reactions to advertising campaigns, led us to implicit test.
Implicit association tests were originally developed as an instrument to explore the unconscious roots of human thought and emotions, as people often have difficulty expressing their own emotions or even know for sure what is going on in their heads.
Such problems are even more aggravated the lower the education, or when people are shy, and also with a certain frequency the politically correct appears, with the risk of compromising the evaluation
The reasons for using implicit association tests in pre-test evaluations are justified by the ability to measure responses, ideas and beliefs at a subconscious level, regardless of an not always ‘desired’ rationalization
The results of the implicit association tests, moreover, are easily interpreted, regardless of any knowledge about psychology, and yet flexible to deepen the specific aspects of each advertising campaign itself
According to the Checon methodology, the tests must take place after the focus groups are carried out, which will serve as a reference for the development of the protocol of what will be tested, when determining the aspects not yet properly clarified
Checon suggests that the implicit association tests be carried out with the same participant profiles, with a control group with people who have not seen the campaign and another with guests soon after seeing the material (film, spot or graphic pieces)
Thus, it is possible to establish a very clear comparison criterion for assessing the impact of aspects that have not been sufficiently clarified with the focus groups.
In general, each implicit association test has a duration of 3 to 5 minutes and allows an assessment of up to 5 distinct attributes, which is usually more than enough for the demands that we have met
Checon suggests performing a minimum of 30 tests, 15 of which are usually with the control group and another 15 with participants watching the same material presented and tested in the focus groups.
This number can be changed in particular situations where there is a need for more specific assessments (such as results by class or age group), or when comparisons with competitors are also necessary.
As advantages, it is worth highlighting the need for a much smaller number of groups, avoiding the repetition that normally occurs from the 10th focus group, directing efforts in the measurement of very specific aspects
Another positive point is the use of a tool capable of evaluating beyond the conscious and the rational, with metrics that, although without the intention of quantitative research, complement the results of the focus groups.
Therefore, there is a saving in both processing and analysis time, as well as in investment, since the results of the implicit association tests are immediate.