NEW YORK: Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, has boosted advertising effectiveness through the "One Number Score" – a copy testing metric that helps indicate whether creative will deliver strong business results, as well as engaging consumers.

Roberto Cymrot, Group Director/Knowledge & Insights at The Coca-Cola Company, discussed this subject at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) 2017 Annual Conference.

"We pride ourselves on the things that we put out in-market," he said. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: Why Coke insists on copy testing.)

And he reported that the "One Number Score" – a metric developed in partnership with research firm Millward Brown, an organisation now known as Kantar Millward Brown – has set a clear standard for the company's advertising.

More specifically, ads run through this type of pre-testing must land within the top 25% of Kantar Millward Brown's creativity database to ultimately make it into the market.

Originally, Cymrot revealed, this process represented "a big shock to the system – a big shock for ad agencies, a big shock for marketers who were not used to testing".

That was particularly the case when creative executions received a high score, but not one strong enough to cross the desired comparative threshold.

Given the emphasis on copy testing came from the C-suite, the copy testing program clearly enjoys the support of Coca-Cola's senior leadership.

Just as important, however, has been educating in-house brand stewards and their agencies about how the pre-testing system works – and in the value of tactics such as testing pre-production animatics to gain an indicator of how the final ad might perform.

"It was not about the specific protocol, per se. But it really was [about] how you bridge the partnership with the internal stakeholders to leverage the research and make decisions based on it," said Cymrot.

And this buy-in was further encouraged by marketing-based modelling, which showed that in-market effectiveness was rising by a significant amount.

"That was attributed to the creative itself, regardless of media negotiations or anything else," he explained to the ARF attendees.

Data sourced from WARC