PepsiCo creates blockbuster holiday ad

A go or no-go decision isn't enough to make a great ad. Learn how PepsiCo’s Walkers team used the detailed diagnostics in Zappi Amplify TV to deliver a blockbuster ad.

The Zappi difference

  • Diagnostics, not box ticking

    Zappi Amplify TV has detailed diagnostic metrics, specifically designed for early-stage animatic testing. Rather than just giving a ‘go, no go’ result, testing enabled the teams to pinpoint exactly what did and didn’t work about the idea, and make iterative improvements.

  • Understand the risk

    The risk functionality Zappi provided enabled the team to revisit the positioning of the ad, supporting the decision to give the celebrity a softer persona role and share the crisps in the end.

  • Early focus

    Zappi Amplify TV enabled Walkers teams to test the idea at an early stage, meaning they could filter ideas quickly and take an agile approach to creativity.

  • Fast turnaround

    Because testing is fast, the creative process isn’t disrupted by waiting for results, so it’s easier to get creative teams on board.


Walkers Crisps invests in advertising to cut through at Christmas

Christmas ads are a huge deal in the UK – like Super Bowl ads in the US. The department store John Lewis is credited with starting the tradition with its big budget, glossy tear-jerkers, which reap rewards in terms of reach, social sharing, and media coverage. Walkers hadn’t previously taken this approach to advertising but, for the holiday season of 2019, the company saw an opportunity to grow their presence.

Campaign goals

Fresh take on old campaign

The campaign aim was to build on an already much-loved campaign around the idea of Walkers crisps being too good to share, and to promote their ‘pigs in blankets’ crisps (a seasonal variety). After working with the same celebrity for 20 years, the team also desired to bring in a new celebrity appearance to bring something fresh to the campaign.


Early-stage testing with Zappi Amplify TV

The Walkers creative and insights teams had already conducted some research to understand how consumers were feeling during the holiday season, what challenges and tensions they were experiencing, and which celebrities would be a good fit. Based on this, they chose to work with an American singer often referred to as ‘the queen of Christmas’ – a high profile choice which meant there was a lot of pressure to get this one right.

The teams rapidly developed a communications idea, and put together an animatic (or draft ad). They then turned to Zappi Amplify TV, at this early stage, to test whether the idea was worth progressing.


Consumer response to the ad concept

Unfortunately, the results of the animatic were lackluster. It tested well on some metrics, such as Distinctiveness and Overall Emotion, but poorly on others, such as Watched Full Ad, leading to mediocre scores for Overall Creative Sales Impact (CSI) and Creative Brand Impact (CBI). These measures indicate how well an ad is likely to perform in the market in terms of sales uplift and brand equity. Mediocre was certainly not going to be good enough.

Actionable insights

Areas to improve the ad

The good news is that Zappi Amplify TV provided detailed diagnostics, which enabled the Walkers teams to identified key areas that they could work with to improve the ad concept. They were:

Limited watchability: Some consumers found the ad annoying and frustrating, were skipping parts, and not watching to the end.

Poor branding: The Walkers brand wasn’t landing, which was a key issue.

Social risk: Some consumers felt that the joke in the ad, which was around selfishly taking the crisps, didn’t fit well with the spirit of the holiday.

Social Sharing and Cultural Risk are relevant new metrics not available [on other platforms] that better reflect the way people consume content.
Fernando KahaneWalkers Marketing Director let's talk about you!