By Cristina de Vierna, DCMN South Africa

47% of the success of a TV advertising campaign can be attributed to the creative used*. So you can have a strong brand with a well-targeted media plan, but if your creative isn’t good, your campaign will fall flat. And by “good” we mean a performance-driven creative that will motivate viewers to act in the desired way when they see it.

Keep it under one roof

The first challenge brands usually face on the road to developing strong creative, is the number of agencies involved. The creative agency comes up with a great concept, but can the production company produce it within budget and on time? The media agency books the spots for the creative, but are they looking at previous campaign results to base their channel, day and daypart selection on? Using one agency to handle all these aspects will result in an integrated campaign where performance is top of mind throughout the entire process.

Want DCMN to create and produce your next TV ad? Contact us on howzit@dcmn.co.za. You can also read more about how we used this approach to create ClearScore’s most recent TV ads with great success.

Data augmented creation as part of the performance approach

When data is at the core of every step in the creation and production process, you know that all elements – concept, script, actors, etc – are crafted and chosen based on real data. At DCMN, we suggest a 5-step approach to developing performance-driven creative:

Step 1:

The first step in the creation process is to evaluate data. By analysing the client’s target group, competitors as well as drivers and barriers to purchase, we have access to real insights that are used in the creative brief.

Step 2:

Measuring the performance of previous campaigns is also a crucial part of the process. And by performance we are not referring to how many people were reached at which frequency, we mean how did the campaign perform in relation to business KPIs – website visits, app downloads, conversions, etc. By using two data sets – the client’s TV schedule and website traffic data – our TV attribution software can measure how individual spots and media placement affects ROI. This information is very valuable in the C&P process to ensure that every campaign performs better than previous ones.

Step 3:

Using data from consumer psychology, learnings from our attribution software and target group preferences, DCMN recently developed an AI booster that is used to develop an objective message for the creative based on language and target group. If the target for the creative is, for instance, a male person living in South Africa, the AI booster will replace words or phrases that won’t resonate with the target.

Example:

  • Without AI: We open on a man sitting on a porch drinking champagne.
  • With AI: We open on a man sitting on a balcony drinking a beer (locality and gender preferences were used to replace words that won’t resonate with the male target)

The call to action is also treated based on the learnings from previous campaigns, e.g.

  • Without AI: Get up to 70% discount.
  • With AI: Get up to 68% discount now. But only until 31 October at www.yourwebsite.co.za (discount is not a multiple of 10, ‘now’ is included, the discount has an end date and the website is included)

Every step brings us closer to developing creative with a strong performance foundation.

Step 4:

Would you buy a new car based on gut feeling only? Why then trust only your gut when it comes to your creative? By testing creatives, we can identify which creative resonates most with the client’s target audience and has the best chance of delivering the desired results. This is done before production starts, using storyboards to explain concepts to the participating focus groups.

Step 5:

So now that we know which creative concept has the best chance of delivering the desired results, the production process can start. Even now, data is still the backbone of the process with research enhanced production. We test the cast to determine who is more likable, the most premium candidate or the best for a TV commercial featuring a specific product or service.

A few other things to keep in mind when creating a performance-driven TV ad:

  • Ads with a shorter duration usually work best from a performance point of view. Looking at the past success of clients, a 20-second ad (with a 10 second cut down version) performs much better than a 30- second or 60-second ad.
  • For digital brands, the call to action at the end of the ad is a crucial element for performance. This call to action will be linked to the business KPIs (website visits, app downloads, etc.)
  • Using a performance approach when doing media planning is just as important. You can read more about that here.

*Nielsen Catalania Solutions 2017, Period 2016 – Q1 2017