The ultimate goal: a successful advertising campaign to gain some type of positive reaction.
But, how do you reach this goal? Advertisers must test their messages to different audiences to make sure they are going to get the best results and are sending a good message. Last year I took an advertising campaigns class at the University of Florida. It was a semester-long class where we had to create a campaign for Eastern Florida State College (formerly Brevard Community College). From the secondary research, primary research, and creative design we did it all – and we won the best creative campaign in the class. In fact, some of our concepts are being used in the current rebranding. But this definitely wasn’t easy. Once we nailed down a few of our ideas we held some focus groups to test our message. We wanted to make sure that we were accurately targeting our audience and sending the right message. While this was only a school project and our message testing was done on a much smaller scale (and probably couldn’t be generalized), we would not have won without testing our message.
The article Developing Media Interventions to Reduce Household Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption discusses the message testing the city of Philadelphia conducted to test a media campaign they launched to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. The goal of the city of Philadelphia was to help combat childhood obesity. Like my group did for our project, the city also held focus groups to decide what mediums to place their advertisements on and four potential media messages developed from this. These results were key for this campaign to be successful because otherwise it could have sent an incorrect message, targeted the wrong audience, or just be a poor campaign overall.
Culture also plays a role in advertising.
“Culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group from another.” – Geert Hofstede
When I studied abroad in Italy I read one of Hofstede’s books to understand how cultures differed in different countries as well as how advertising differed as well. While I was reading “Online consumer behavior: Comparing Canadian and Chinese website visitors” I thought about what I read in Hofstede’s book and reflected back to what I learned in that class. Knowing how two cultures differ and how their advertising differs will make you produce very different advertisements for each country. I found this YouTube video that shows McDonald’s commercials in different countries – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzxpYrAGb3k. What do you think about how they altered their message for different cultures?
1. Do you think it is important to take cultural differences into considerations when designing a website or creating an advertisement? What are some examples?
2. Does you company conduct some sort of message testing before publicly displaying a message?
3. What are some different ways you can test your message?