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Business case studies No 252 - 15.03.2018

This week’s egtabite analyses campaign effectiveness through the lens of Wim Vermeulen, Director Strategy and Innovation at Dentsu Aegis Network, Managing Director of Dentsu Consulting Belgium and author of Marketing for the Mad (Wo)Men of Tomorrow. This January, he was a speaker at egta’s annual Market Intelligence Meeting (MIM).

His recent keynote addressed an issue that matters to sales houses: the impact of TV campaigns on business results.

When analysing campaign effectiveness, Vermeulen focussed on the impact of the creative side of campaigns, an analysis that is very complimentary to Les Binet and Peter Field’s work on ad effectiveness (Field pre-faced Wim’s book).

Not only is the TV ad creative a crucial element for an impactful campaign, it is also the area in which broadcasters can play an important role in discussion with advertisers. Therefore, Wim Vermeulen provides relevant insights into how TV broadcasters can help agencies work on their clients’ campaign success and directly collaborate with the advertisers for win-win results.

A new communication model for the digital age

While doing the research for his book, Vermeulen sought to understand what makes campaigns in the digital era most effective, by studying campaign case studies from the IPA and WARC and taking on board learnings from neuroscience.

What he found is an emerging communication model that is much more effective than the current communication models (originated in the past century): the TapForward communication model. You can recognize successful campaigns by the TapForward-effect, showing massive consumer uptake and spectacular sales and brand building results. An example of a campaign with a huge TapForward effect is the Volvo Truck marketing campaign featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Thanks to great consumer engagement (+90 million views), the campaign resulted in a sales increase of 24%.

Campaigns are successful when they reinforce the three mental shortcuts that consumers use when deciding on a product or a brand:

1.Does your brand come first to the mind of the consumer?(availability heuristic),2. How good do you feel about the brand. The better you feel about the brand, the more likely you are to make a purchase ( affect heuristic)3. How familiar is your brand? ( processing fluency heuristic).

Research on 167 brands in 18 categories shows that the correlation between a brand’s score on these heuristics and a brand’s market share is +0,85. Hence, all disciplines in marketing (not only advertising) must focus on increasing the scores on these mental shortcuts. How, according to Vermeulen, the TapForward campaigns do this specifically can be summarised as ACT.

TAPforward communication model- ACT

• A stands for feeding the autopilot side of the brain, also known as the brain’s first system, led by emotions as opposed to the lazy thinker side , known as the second, rational system. Neuroscience proves that 90% of the brand or product decisions consumers make is on autopilot. “Thinking to humans is like swimming to cats. We can do it, but we hate it”, asserts Vermeulen. We might have the impression that our product choices are well-thought off, in reality they are not. Advertising needs to feed the autopilot so that brands become no-brainers. And the stronger the autopilot, the stronger the score on the fluency heuristic.

C is for connecting deeply with the audience on the emotional level. Consumers only buy brands or products they feel good about. That’s the affect heuristic. Sales activation, always based on rational arguments, can convince consumers that are looking to buy a product to switch brand. But it doesn’t reinforce the affect heuristic. For that you need to connect emotionally. With this in mind, Wim Vermeulen worked on a Belgian campaign for the pharmaceutical company EG with exactly that aim. Today, EG is the leader in the market due to an effective marketing campaign that perfectly matches the TAPForward communication model. With 86% of ad spend in TV, their campaign resulted in a 26% increase in sales. “If you want to get people talking, you get it started on television and then take it online. The other way around is much more difficult”, said Vermeulen.

•Third, T in the ACT model is for getting people to talk about a campaign. Vermeulen defines 5 triggers that advertisers can use in their campaigns to improve talkability. If enough people get to talk about a campaign it not only builds extra share-of-voice but also mental availability. And that strengthens the availably heuristic.

Knowing this, the secret to the most effective campaigns is simple. Working with ACT means increasing the three mental shortcuts people use when they let their autopilots decide on a brand or product. Which happens in 90% of cases.

An opportunity for broadcasters - Get people talking

According to Vermeulen, broadcasters are already helping agencies and advertisers with standardised commercial breaks, jingles and sponsoring, which drives the A (autopilot) and the C (connections) of the ACT model.

But advertisers need to how to master the TapForward effect. That only happens when people start talking (the T in ACT) about the campaign. In order to achieve that, advertisers usually first think of Facebook and YouTube, which is a mistake as the recent figures show that the excitement is moving away from social media (only 20% of regular updates happen on Facebook).

On that note, Vemeulen provides an effective example of a P&G campaign called The Talk to illustrate how the advertiser worked with a broadcaster to get people talking about an ad. The campaign was mentioned in the TV show Blackish, a comedy show that depicts the life of a black family, whose father works in an advertising agency. The character explains in detail the importance of The Talk and the relevance of the overall P&G campaign. “If you take that sort of content in a TV programme, you don’t need to be afraid that your audience will switch channel”, says Vermeulen to point out the clever collaboration between broadcaster and advertiser.

“In the end, as digital is becoming weaker in getting people talking and sharing, I think it is broadcasters’ turn to shine again! You know how to make programmes that get people talking! Let’s work together intelligently to increase the talkability of TapForward campaigns and find out how we can do it!”, Vermeulen concludes.

 

RESOURCES
 

» Wim Vermeulen presentation from MIM 2019 (please download here)

» Wim Vermeulen's book Marketing for the Mad (Wo)Men of Tomorrow (for more info click here)

» If you would like Wim Vermeulen to come and present the ACT model, please contact him here

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