'The Emperor has No Clothes!'

Peter Blackwell, NOP, and Michael Cramphorn, Add+Impact, argue that clutter reels are a hindrance in commercial pre-testing

It is extraordinary that, in a profession that is all about accurate measurement, where the dangers of experimenter bias and order effect are well recognised, nobody seems very concerned about the use of clutter reels in pre-testing.

The arguments for clutter reels centre on normality. Because TV ads are exposed in clusters, the best way to expose test ads is in clutters (not a bad name, since it clutters up the research).

Clutter reels are justified as helping predict awareness: perhaps, to some extent, they do. But this cannot justify poor design, if the same outcome can be achieved without compromising the rest of the research.