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Oct 16, 2006
Blog Post

Research Data on Ads People Love vs Ads That Work

SUMMARY: No summary available.
By Anne Holland, President

It's fun being at Sherpa because we often get to see new study data before anyone else. This week, Anderson Analytics pre-released their new GenX2Z College Brand Study results to us exclusively. (See link below to three charts from the study.)

They track which brands, ads and Web sites college students name as their "favorite." Results:

o Web: MySpace unexpectedly leapfrogged to number one, past
FaceBook and YouTube.

o Brands: Nike is the most beloved brand for the second year in a row. Coke plummeted from number two in 2005 to 15 in 2006. Express and Apple each moved up substantially from the bottom to the middle of the top 15 pack.

o TV ads: The most popular commercials -- Geico, Miller,
CitiBank, Volkswagen -- were all chosen by students because they were the funniest. Humorous creative equals a home run in the college crowd.

Or does it?

Thing is, humor doesn't equal loyalty. 2005's most beloved Web site was demoted to number four this year.

Humor also doesn't equal purchasing. None of the top brands named by students produce humorous ads. (And, according to
MarketingSherpa's own 2005 study of IT professionals' reactions to online ads, they loved to click on humorous banners but it didn't affect their ultimate buying decision.)

Last week I was considering this data when I ran across USA
Today's most recent Ad Track report.

As you may know, the weekly report conducted in partnership with Harris Interactive, asks more than 3,500 adult consumers whether they like a TV ad or not ... and if they think it's effective.

Last week's study was about Hyundai's Sonata ads. Reportedly, consumers thought these ads were 55% less effective than other ads on TV.

Here's the thing, consumers are buying 44% more Sonatas this year compared to last year. USA Today's reporter was mystified by this.

I wasn't.

Thing is, the ads and marketing creative consumers like -- or what they think is really funny -- is not always (or sometimes ever) going to be the ad that moves the purchase needle. Plus, of course, the ad your own marketing team likes the most won't necessarily be the winner either.

No one's gut -- neither your creative team's nor end consumers' -- can tell you which ads will really work. Only testing can.

Which, pretty much sums up my entire marketing philosophy.
Got any data of your own on what people like versus what really works? Post it to this blog's comments below ...

Three useful links related to this blog:

#1. Three handy charts with more details on Anderson Analytics' study

#2. USA Today's Hyundai data:

#3. Anderson Analytics

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Comments about this Blog Entry

Oct 16, 2006 - Matt of ia Interactive says:
Great article. Relevant topic. How many times have we been confronted with consumers who, when asked, complain about a specific ad (or ad type) that we know is effective at driving sign-ups? This is classic. What consumers think they like but what actually drives an action are often very different.

Oct 16, 2006 - Tom Butlin of Trends Publishing says:
A little off topic perhaps, but I always go for the obvious. Remove any doubt as to where the link is headed and what the benefit is. We have a client who changed copy from "Visit our place for Trends & Ideas" to "View 75,000+ properties". Clicks improved by 51%. The ad appears on the top right corner of - refresh if necessary to rotate the ads. It probably didn't help the client that their original campaign tagline mimicked our URL:

Oct 17, 2006 - Jeannette Cezanne of eWay Direct, Inc. says:
Absolutely true in the e-messaging arena as well. I personally hate emails that use my name in the subject line -- feels like someone is getting way too personal with me. But guess what? Turns out that sort of personalized subject line *works*! It continues to baffle me, but you can't argue with test results.

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