How Testing Creative Prior to Production Can Improve Ad Effectiveness

Image of man filming with a production camera

There are plenty of strategies that can be used to improve ad effectiveness. Incorporating humor, micro-targeting, and being bold are just a few examples. However, predicting ad effectiveness is difficult to determine when you’re in the early stages of creative development.

Luckily, creative testing can help towards improving performance, or at least determine refinements so that the final creative results in a better connection and more engagement with viewers to ultimately drive brand equity. In fact, we recently conducted a creative refinement study in partnership with a household cleaning brand who understood the importance of testing their ad before production.

The Research

The household surface cleaner market has been relatively flat, so competition among the top four players is fierce. Clorox and Lysol’s motivating and ownable germ-killing claims, plus their umbrella strategies spanning many categories, have led to a much higher overall market share for these two players. In this category, cleaning effectiveness and disinfection ultimately drive purchase decisions—as they’re directly associated with protecting family health.

PowerClean, a new player, is trying to break through with an ad campaign. This specific idea competes directly with the leaders via a satirical problem-solution strategy grounded in fear of germs. In order to make sure the concept was ready for production, PowerClean wanted to test it among their target audience. Using a Creative Refiner™, PowerClean hoped to gather targeted consumer feedback to identify key areas for refinement. Specifically, they needed to understand if brand equities and key messages shine through, and if not, how they can refine the concept in order to ensure they do.

The study sought to determine how PowerClean should refine their storyboard prior to production in order to position themselves for a successful launch. Objectives were to

  • Explore reactions to the ad, specifically focusing on initial impressions and understanding of the main message
  • Uncover message interpretations and key takeaways
  • Uncover how well the ad is communicating key messages in terms of being believable, likable, and compelling
  • Identify the impact on impressions of PowerClean and the likelihood for consumers to consider PowerClean for cleaning in the future
  • Identify any red flags and opportunities for optimization

The Results

Initial impressions of the ad were positive and consumers found the ad relevant, but somewhat lacking in other areas.

Screenshots of the PowerClean report

Consumers found the ad relevant due to the relatable scenarios for cleaning that were depicted. However, the ad failed to answer key questions about the product that consumers felt were important to address before they’d decide to purchase it. 

The ad wasn’t compelling enough to some respondents, and the PowerClean brand didn’t always shine through.

Some respondents felt the ad failed to capture their attention since it was similar to many ads in this category. Further, the ad, while showing what situation the product could be used for, didn’t effectively highlight PowerClean until the end.

The ad failed to differentiate itself from other cleaning product brands.

One of PowerClean’s main messages of the ad was to appear more appealing and less astringent than other brands; however, consumers commonly mentioned they recognized this ad was for a cleaning product but wouldn’t necessarily relate it back to PowerClean.

In the end, without a creative refinement step in their process, this cleaning company wouldn’t have been able to identify how their ad was likely to perform among their target audience and what they could do to improve that outcome before it was too late. To learn more about the specific aspects of their ad they assessed, and the specific results they found, download the full report below.

Download Report