NEW YORK: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewer, has seen success through modifying the ad testing model to nurture ideas rather than simply receive an overall rating on creative work, and used this new process for brands such as Budweiser.

Jodi Harris, VP/marketing culture and learning at Anheuser-Busch InBev, discussed this subject at the 2018 CONSUMERxSCIENCE conference held by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF).

More specifically, she explained how campaign development for Budweiser had moved beyond a “traffic light system” for testing ads that would award a spot a “red”, “yellow”, or “green” depending on its rating by consumers.

“I think we fell into a trap of measuring our creativity through the means of the dashboard – this is the traffic-light system,” said Harris. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: AB InBev turns copytesting into a driver of creativity.)

“We would wait to get the topline [result], and we’d see the red or the green or the yellow. And if it was a green, we would go. But, guess what? Often times we didn’t actually get that green.”

The outcomes of the old model, she continued, were far from optimal: “We were stuck in this process … We were just testing, and testing, and testing executions, spending a ton of money, spending a ton of time, always being behind.”

Against this backdrop, Anheuser-Busch partnered with research firm Ipsos to transform its copytesting formula. In the place of a colour-coded readout, the new aim was to uncover truly powerful ideas for brands like Budweiser to put to work.

Instead of testing ads in their final or early stages, qualitative and quantitative research techniques were used to find meaningful insights, then develop a finished commercial.

“We opened up the aperture a bit so we can start to nurture them a little bit instead of just killing them because maybe 70% of the consumers said they wouldn’t buy the product right off the bat,” Harris said.

And this refreshed approach guided Budweiser in creating its last two Super Bowl spots, which have yielded some of the best testing scores ever recorded by the brand, as well as making a powerful impact with consumers.

Sourced from WARC