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Evaluation evolution: How Coca-Cola and Exterion use better, faster research tools

Opinion, 18 August 2017
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Brands such as Coca-Cola and Exterion are taking advantage of better, faster, and cheaper advertising research tools. But, what does better, faster and cheaper actually look like? asks Esomar’s Finn Raben.

An increase in advertising outputs, and a decrease in market research budgets, means that traditional research methods have been enhanced or replaced.

Doubling Coca-Cola Japan’s advertising testing at a fraction of the cost

Coca-Cola headquarters demanded 100% of Coca-Cola Japan’s creative to be tested before it could go to market. With 100 new products launched last year alone, this might seem impossible. Well it was at the time. Coca-Cola was only testing 50% of ads before they went to market. This was the case until Coca-Cola Japan discovered technology provider ZappiStore at the forefront of automated market research while attending the research industry conference ESOMAR Congress.

Coca-Cola Japan adopted ZappiStore’s research automation tools to satisfy the demand for speed and increased budget pressure. The automated tools are now an integral part of the Coca-Cola global research tool kit. Coca-Cola is using the automated tools to test their creative and work iteratively, at a fraction of the cost, freeing up significant budget and time that can be transferred to the discovery and ideation process.

Coca-Cola Turkey’s 360 degree insight into emotional reactions
Coca-Cola Turkey worked with NeuroThink to crack the code in advertising effectively to both Gen Z and older generations, leading us into a future where one size fits all. This kind of insight required a combination of new methods such as EEG, eye tracking, and neuro guided in-depth interviews. The blend of techniques offered a full 360 degree insight into Gen Z’s attraction to TV advertising.

The study uncovered unconscious perceptions of the audience and blended them with existing conscious filters to reveal more effective ways to approach the audience with new angles. While improving the Gen Z appeal at top level, the advertisements moved from the 50% percentile at the normative scale, to the top 17% percentile, while also significantly improving the ad’s enjoyment, brand appeal and differentiation among older generations.

Tracking the most valuable out-of-home advertising estate in the world with Exterion Media
With 30 million journeys taken daily, and annual passenger numbers reaching nearly 1.5 billion, the London Underground takes the prize for the most valuable out-of-home advertising estate. But successfully measuring advertising effectiveness in a difficult to reach place, during rush hour, with travellers frantically squeezing for space, isn’t the easiest task for media companies and brands.

So when Exterion Media won the contract, providing new and quality insight in this environment led them to throw traditional survey methods out the window. The key was to understand the extent to which people are engaging with the ads while going about their daily lives. Exterion joined forces with COG Research to make way for the largest neuroscience study ever done underground. New eye tracking technology measured the ad engagement levels at every stage of the journey and throughout the day. This was a breakthrough in providing granular data on how ads work across different moments in time while people are simultaneously on their phones or reading the paper.

For the media planning industry, it developed an algorithm to test and predict attention and engagement. The study found that during 16% of their journey, passengers are highly engaged with the ads – a proportion on par with TV, but for much less of the cost (keeping in mind too that a passenger will often take the same route multiple times per week). More than half of those who regularly use their phones while travelling also take time to look at the ads – and of those using their phones, a third are actually using their device to take notes about the information they see. When cross analysed to other media ad placements, such as social media, the study found that of consumers who don’t like social media ads, 80% like ads on the London Underground.  

So what’s next? A move toward digital; digital panels showed a 40% uplift in attention compared to classic panels. Together, these insights have encouraged advertisers to develop better animated advertisements, such as actionable ads on digital panels to service different parts of the day.

The latest advertising research techniques revealed…
Technology is providing a revolution in the measurement of advertisement effectiveness, but where can you hear from those brands already mentioned and many more at the forefront of insights and research?

Coca-Cola and Exterion, along with more of the world’s biggest brands will reveal the latest tools and technology in providing actionable insight and measurement at ESOMAR Congress 2017. Check out the full programme.

WARC subscribers can access past ESOMAR Congress papers here

About the author

Finn Raben is the Director General of ESOMAR.

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