Case study: pre-testing mould-breaking ads

Sue Burden

Pre-testing and ad agency creatives are rarely close allies. The research industry knows that brand communications pre-testing suffers a bad press among ad agency creatives. Their views can often be based on 'industry myths' or a personal experience from many years ago – but, whatever the reason, creatives may see pre-testing as a process that stifles creativity and brings ads down to a homogenised, standard format.

When it comes to ads that are seeking to break the mould, this resistance can become an impenetrable barrier: How could consumers overcome 'the shock of the new'? Faced with an unfamiliar communications approach, won't respondents just retreat into an attitude of 'can't understand it, so it must be bad'?