Following on from Part 1, the second part of a two-part article looking at some of the things we have found matter when it comes to getting the best advertising ROI in FMCG.

6. Emotions and stuff are all good, but don’t forget to appeal to people’s rational sides, too

A few years ago, I had the privilege of modelling a Truly Wonderful ad, for the re-launch of one of Britain’s Best-Loved Brands. I’m not being facetious – it was truly wonderful. It brought a tiny tear to my eye as it momentarily decalcified my usually flinty heart. What’s more, I wasn’t the only one. Viewers wrote in, saying how Truly Wonderful it was. It won an award.

The only thing it didn’t do is sell more stuff. The ROI, when measured, was a fraction – a very small one – of the more conventional fodder the brand had traditionally served up in its TV ads. The tracking metrics told the tale. The creative scored magnificently on the emotional attributes, but stank, somewhat, on rational attributes, such as ‘made me re-appraise my choice’.

Much as today’s modish behaviourists would have us believe that we are a seething mass of unconnected emotional impulses emanating from our lizard brains, most consumers still have a rational, practical streak somewhere about their person, and quite often this streak will get involved in making decisions. If you don’t bother to appeal to it, you risk them writing in with reams of ecstastica about how Truly Wonderful your advert is, but not actually buying your bread, or whatever it is you are trying to sell.

Rubik’s famous cube – not easily solved with the limbic system alone

7. You don’t need a new ad. Probably.

Ok, I accept there probably IS a point at which even the most impactful, Truly Wonderful ad becomes ‘wallpaper’ and people cease to notice it at all, but it’s probably a long way off where you are now. Be honest with yourself – is the consumer bored with the ad, or is it just you? Even in modelling the ROI of copy used year after year after year, I’ve seen precious little evidence of ‘creative wear-out’, probably because it’s been changed so often it hasn’t had a chance to wear-out. Remember, one man’s wear-out, is another man’s comfortable familiarity, and a lot of people like comfortable familiarity. For heaven’s sake, don’t bore your viewers, but ‘novelty’ is not the only attribute in the game.  If it was good to start with, it’s good now.

This was once thought a good ad. And why not?

And, if it was not good to start with…

8. Ok, you might need a new ad

Ads seldom wear in. If you’ve deployed your ad in sufficient weight to cut through (of which, more below), and it really hasn’t delivered the goods, then bin it. Don’t deceive yourselves with any of the virtuous-sounding noises your well-meaning colleagues and agencies will be making to save your face or feelings. You know it didn’t work.

I remember a few years ago measuring the ROI of a new ad for a very well-known and flavoursome product. It was a brand new platform/strategy/approach/concept. The logic for the change was compelling, the decision courageous. The ROI stank. I later heard from someone who had been in the room when the new ad was screened for agency partners. At the close, it had been greeted by silence, and then a hurried infilling of words like ‘interesting’ and ‘different’ (translation: it stank). A few million pounds later it didn’t smell any better.

Shorts and trainers (US: short pants and sneakers) help the creative process

9. Flight It Right

No, not the title of a new game show on the television, but something rather more prosaic and arguably more important.

Usually, broadcast media follows an S-shaped response curve. In practical terms, this means a week or two of heavier weight is needed at the start of the campaign to help get over the hump (or, ‘cut-through’ as it’s otherwise known), after which you can begin to dial it back. Depending on the length of your adstock (campaign memory), you may even be able to elongate your campaign (or save some cash) by pulsing on and off after that point. Decent econometric modelling will tell you what your campaign parameters are (the shape of your response curve, and the length of your adstocks) and you can use these to help you flight it right.

10. Seasonality

Sounds obvious, but cheap media and positive sales seasonality all help your ROI. When it’s your time of year, consumers are just that little bit more responsive to each rating you deploy and base sales are higher of course (once again, it’s better to be big, even if only during part of the year). All the better, if it happens to be a time of the year when media is cheap. It’s not always possible to hit max sales seasonality/min media cost, but there is some balance of the two factors which will show you the best time of year for your campaign.

Bet you can’t think of another illustration for seasonality. Neither could we

So, there we have our ‘Top 10’ of great ROI. We’ve focused for the most part on analytical things as that’s our speciality – of course, other things matter, too.

For a conversation about your advertising ROI, contact us.

Philip Gaudoin

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