Stunning News for COVID Advertisers
In a study of 360 COVID ads measured by ABX across all media, advertising effectiveness scores were some of the highest we've seen. Ads featuring thanks to first-responders, helpful advice regarding resisting the virus, and Gender Equality in all ads rose to the top. See which top three ads worked, and which bottom three didn't.
We've now tested 360 ads across all mediums within the month of March, and have been amazed to see that consumers are not reacting negatively to advertising at all! In fact, they are welcoming ads and responding more positively to them than before the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. Here are some highlights, and then we'll look at examples of approaches that work, and a few that don't, when addressing an emergency situation.
- ABX sees that overall consumer response to ads during the month of March improved +5%.
- More important, ads with COVID-related content perform better than non-COVID-related ads by a full +175%.
- This also applies to Gender Equality Measure™ testing, as well. GEM™ scores are up 4% for all ads, but are more than 50% better for COVID-related ads.
We've also seen that 56% of recent TV creative has COVID-specific content, and much of that content shows "heroes" working to enable most of us to stay home and break the infection cycle. Once again, we see that positive gender portrayal – higher GEM™ scores … result in higher Reputation scores and higher Calls-to-Action. The sheer number of ads above the ABX "Average" Index dwarfs the small number below the average line. Usually, we see a more even distribution of ads above and below that mid-point.
The ads that follow include ads with some of the highest scores we've ever measured. They are in the top 1% of the 200,000 + ads measured by ABX. They demonstrate three of the most successful strategies we've seen employed by advertisers during this time of crisis.
- Appreciation for first-responders and employees.
- Guidance on how consumers can help themselves during this time.
- Presenting characters in ads in alignment with GEM principles.
McDonald's nailed it with," After Billions and Billions Served ..." with one of the highest scoring ads we've ever tested, with an ABX Index of 159 (with 100 being Average). The ad is really quite plain, but the Message is huge - that McDonald's will be feeding First Responders and Healthcare Workers free meals, scoring 166. The Reputation score at 385 was, again, one of the highest of the 200,000 ads tested. First Responders are today's heroes, and aligning with them does incredible good for your brand.
At 156, "At Amazon, Challenges are what Motivate Us" is Amazon's super high-scoring ad. The whole spot focuses on how Amazon employees are taking every precaution to deliver the goods you need. And they won extra points for high Gender Equality Index scores for both the male and female characters in the ad. Using Sarah Rhoads, Vice President Amazon Global Air, in the ad was pitch-perfect. But there is still much work to be done among all advertisers to eliminate gender bias. On average, ads with only female actors have higher GEI™ scores than ads with only male actors. But when a male and female actor are in the same ad, the male gender scores average 1.5% higher…a clear sign that unconscious bias continues to exist.
Smirnoff's "Diane BB it's Diane I Know you Want to Eat Out" is a good example of what not to do to your female actors. While the overall scores weren't terrible, with a decent Message about staying at home and not touching your face during this crisis, the character Gender Equality Measure for both Female and Male are at 83, which is 17 points below norm. How much higher would Smirnoff scored without taking a silly approach to something serious. Given that high Female GEM scores add to Reputation and Action, there seems to be an opportunity lost.
Are you satisfied with how you are measuring advertising effectiveness? Is it resonating through Awareness and Message, and having an impact on Reputation and Action? ABX provides the largest normative database in the industry across all media types. On average you can improve your creative effectiveness by almost 20%. If you have questions, or would like a quick, informal chat, please click here.
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ABX provides ad effectiveness scores from human respondents against 14 variables and in all media types. ABX Index values are a comparison of the results of an ad versus the average of all ads in the ABX database (200,000+ ads). Click for more information about definitions and methodology.