Grow smarter with every ad using Zappi Amplify

Kim Malcolm and Kelsey Sullivan

Successful advertising hinges on a deep understanding of consumers. 

After all, to truly resonate with people, you have to be able to step into their shoes. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it's astonishing how often brands miss the mark. But why is that? 

We’ve seen many creatives resist the idea of using market research in the ad development process — so they aren’t able to get the feedback they need to make something that really resonates. That resistance often comes from the way market research has been used historically. 

In the past, market research has been used to grade work, rather than fuel it. And instead of providing valuable insights, it has sometimes been perceived as a hindrance, with research agencies trying to dictate the creative process rather than offer a window into how people react and why.

But fortunately, this perception can and is changing. Agile market research solutions allow brands to get deep insights early and often while developing advertising, make the most of every idea and learn about consumers over time — ultimately resulting in better advertising over time.

We don’t just use the tool to kill or proceed, it’s about nurturing those ideas and making them bigger and better and more resonant for consumers.

—Tim McEntaggart, Director of brand and innovation insights, PepsiCo

In this blog post, we’ll share an example of how the Zappi Amplify Ad System provides an in-depth understanding of consumer responses as well as detailed analysis that helps spot the development opportunities that can unlock creative excellence, ultimately investing in advertising that works harder to grow the brand. 

Raising arches around the globe

If you haven’t yet seen it, this year McDonald's launched its ‘raise your arches’ ad campaign. The first ad in the campaign depicts two women working in an office space and raising their eyebrows (or ‘arches’) at one another, then eventually the entire office, to indicate that it’s time to go to McDonald’s.

The original ad (above) by Leo Burnett UK, directed by Edgar Wright of "Shaun of the Dead" fame, got a regional makeover created for Middle East audiences (below) by Publicis Groupe Middle East's Studio M for the Gulf Cooperation region.

Choosing to localize ads can be a big investment for companies but it's often the right thing to do and pays off in terms of audience connection and engagement. McDonald’s first edit was designed to work for a US and UK audience, while their second edit used the fantastic creative and brand idea from the original but executed it in a way they expected would resonate more in Middle Eastern markets. The question is: Did the local version resonate more (and ultimately result in greater ROI) than the initial global version?

By using the Zappi Amplify Ad System, our team was able to get a better look into what consumers really thought about these ads, going much deeper than giving the ads a ‘grade.’ 

Overall, we found that on paper the ads performed nearly the same. In terms of all key metrics at a topline level, McDonald's could have made the decision to proceed with the global ad in the Middle East because it was well received by the audience; however, the nuance in the detail we found suggests that the local edit has the edge.

Here’s a deeper look into insights we were able to see.

Subtle differences can make a big impact

We took a look at not only verbatim reactions, but also second-by-second emotional responses from consumers.  

Here’s a look at the emotional spikes from our Middle Eastern audience:

  1. The first spike shows a lot of love for the famous golden arches in the local edit, while the global ad had a more subdued response, showing that in the context of local representation the ad was found to be more appealing.

  2. The second spike, featuring a lady in a headscarf, demonstrates how people really resonated yet more with the characters represented in the local edit

  3. The third and final spike for the local ad, and its dip for the global ad, again emphasizes how viewers react to relatable characters. Local audiences clearly appreciate seeing characters they can relate to in the ad.

From this, we can see that beyond the first spike driven by brand appeal, the other spikes of "love" generated by the local ad are moments in which the cultural relevance is at the very forefront of the story.

 So while the story is very much the same and both ads grab attention, the local adaptation adds an extra layer of resonance, with cultural relevance playing a pivotal role in forging stronger connections with the audience. 

Why every second counts

With ads, you don’t have a lot of time to make an impact — so it’s often the slight nuances that matter the most. And this is where the Zappi Amplify Ad System is able to shed some much needed light. 

Spotting the spikes and dips in emotional responses on a second-by-second basis may just give you a glimpse at a small moment in time, but those small moments can make a world of difference for your ad and your brand. It can also help differentiate what’s exactly hitting the mark with consumers if you have ideas that seem to be very similar in performance on the surface.

Zappi Amplify provides a much more robust suite of diagnostics to understand what's working in the ad and why, with metrics that are hard to find in other methodologies.

- Ben Jordan, Assoc. Dir; Human Insights Center of Excellence at The Clorox Company

The ability to get more granular with consumers will not only help you understand them better, but also spot even the briefest moment where the responses make a negative shift. Ultimately, letting you know exactly where you need to optimize to hit the mark with your audience.

“People who used to push back against pre-testing are now asking to use Amplify to iterate and optimize early and often rather than just validating as a final check. They can see how they get findings, steer the direction and see better in market success.”

- Christian Niederauer, Global Head of Insights, Colgate-Palmolive

But that’s just one of the benefits the Zappi Amplify Ad System can give you. Here’s some of the other ways it helps you better understand your consumer: 

Additional benefits of the Zappi Amplify Ad System

Almost 50% of our survey is focused on diagnosing why people are reacting the way they are to each ad and getting a granular understanding of the why behind their reactions. So in addition to our moment-by-moment system 1 responses, Zappi Amplify also includes: 

  • Open responses automatically grouped by theme for quick understanding

  • All the individual responses so you can get a closer understanding of consumers’ voices and reactions

  • Solutions throughout ad development, not just at the end, to help you iterate and improve

“Since partnering with Zappi, we have seen our creative effectiveness improve by 30% across all our advertising. This equates to PepsiCo gaining hundreds of millions in value from greater creative effectiveness this year!”

- Stephan Gans, Chief Consumer Insights & Analytics Officer, PepsiCo

A grade is useless if it comes too late and if you aren’t able to fully understand how you got there. By providing a deeper consumer understanding from idea through to final ads, Zappi Amplify gives you the ability to truly help shape your ideas and ads while you have the opportunity to improve — and before money, time and energy is spent, making it too hard (and painful) to turn back.

All of this ladders up to why using best in class, highly diagnostic (as well as evaluative) research to connect with consumers  early and often is critical to creating successful advertising from the start — especially with an ad system like Zappi Amplify, which is designed to drive efficiency and consistency in testing so you get smarter and your advertising gets better over time.

If you’re ready to grow smarter with your ads and ensure they work in the real world, talk to us.

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