October 20, 2021

Consumers React to 'As Bean on TV'

After I posted about Melissa Joan Hart's "As Bean on TV" commercial, Joseph Gray sent me some consumer research his new colleagues at iSpot.tv had conducted.

Some further background on the three-minute creative: Apparently it was created for National Coffee Day (9/29) and had one big airing on ABC during the reality show Bachelor in Paradise. iSpot estimates the airing cost $250,000 and generated approximately three million impressions.

Peter Daboll, former Ace Metrix CEO and now head of iSpot.tv Strategy & Insights, said that "given the unconventional and quirky approach," he wanted to examine what viewers thought of the ad. His team "maintains a database of 100,000+ television and digital ads across all categories (since 2010) with a nationally representative sample of at least 500 unique U.S. viewers of each ad," he explained. As a result, they can get "both quantitative and qualitative results across a wide array of demographic and consumer targets within 24-48 hours."

An example of the kind of finding they generate is the graphic above. It shows that "when asked to name the Single Best Thing about the creative, viewers mentioned the characters/celebrity (Ms. Joan Hart) at a disproportionate rate," according to the report.

Interesting stuff, but I was more curious about reactions to the 'DRTV parody' aspect of the creative. Digging into the report, I noticed that of the 25 or so representative comments included in the analysis, about one-third expressed the main reason Claude Hopkins still has a point:

  • “This was hilarious. I'd buy all three if it were a real infomercial. The characters played their parts incredibly well and the jokes were funny and the story was well paced.” - Female 21-35
  • “I'm guessing you can actually order all 3 coffees. I'm going to have to check on this...” - Female 36-49
  • “It was a good commercial but I didn't know what was real, what was the truth.” - Male 50+
  • “I didn't get if they were being serious about all the other things coffee can be used for [or] if it was a joke.” - Female 21-35
  • “I was intrigued by some of the uses for coffee grounds and wondered if they were real or not.” - Female 50+
  • “It was funny. I like Melissa. But was it a real ad or a joke? Who would want to buy coffee that removes tough things off pans?” - Female 36-49
  • “I was completely lost. Was this a spoof on commercials? Was this a real commercial? What was actually being advertised?” - Female 36-49

In summary: "Key consumer reactions focused on whether the parody was real or not," Peter said.

OK, so maybe getting people to order wasn't the real goal. Perhaps the advertiser felt that any direct sales would be gravy, and the real point was to get in front of three million consumers and remind them about these coffee brands. 

When it comes to achieving such goals, one of the key challenges is to cut through the clutter. A funny commercial six times longer than the standard commercial — one that also happens to feature a likable celebrity — seems like a good way to pull that off. In other words, people may not buy from clowns, but maybe they will remember the clowns and their funny props (in this case, the coffee)? 

"It was certainly an unconventional, if not risky, move to run such an ad in prime time," Peter agreed. "It was a highly polarizing ad, meaning it had its lovers and haters, with few in the middle. But certainly, it scored above norm in attention and information content."

Does that mean this approach was ultimately effective? To answer that question, consumer-research types use various "brand recall" metrics. As the name indicates, this is when you ask viewers to recall the name of the brand in the commercial they just saw. "Aided awareness" uses a multiple-choice question where the brand name is one of the choices. "Unaided awareness" uses a harder, fill-in-the-blank question. Peter's report included information about the latter.

"While not a conventional coffee/tea ad, the three-minute spot spurred positive intent among 46% of gen pop viewers," Peter reported. "Brand recall was, however, low even for Maxwell House at under 60% (the subject of a good portion of the ad). Unaided recall of Gevalia and Ethical Bean was negligible (fewer than a handful)."

October 18, 2021

Noteworthy: As Bean on TV

Maxwell House, Gevalia & Ethical Bean coffee
Pitch: "Yes, we really did this"
Offer: $19.99 for all three
Bonus: Free shipping
Starring: Melissa Joan Hart
Marketer: The Kraftz Heinz Company
Visit Website

Testing the "people don't buy from clowns" theory, this three-minute commercial parodies our industry at the same time it tries to use its techniques to sell a real offer.

I supposed it could work as reminder advertising for the first two brands and awareness advertising for the third brand (at least, I'm not familiar with it). But if the idea is to get a feasible ROI...I wouldn't hold my breath.

As for Ms. Hart, she's quite lovely, and I like her comedic timing. The writing for this creative is also clever and fun. Indeed, the whole "skit" reminds me of what Ryan Renolds is doing so well with advertising right now.

October 15, 2021

New & True: ID Police

Description: An identity-protecting ink roller
Pitch: "Just roll it on and your information is gone"
Offer: As low as $9.99
Bonus: Free shipping on multiples
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Kerrmercials
Rank: No. 9*
Visit Website

This is a new twist on Old Gold. The first hit in this category was SAS Group's Black Out, which was No. 50 on the 2011 JW Annual.

Telebrands has had repeat success with the "Police" brand. Back in March, Grease Police hit No. 9 on the True Top 10.

* Source: DRMetrix Weekly Rankings, Media Week #41

New & True: Ruby Sliders

Description: Chair leg covers
Pitch: "Protect your floors, prevent scratching and slide with ease"
Offer: As low as 99 cents each
Bonus: Free shipping
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Cole
Rank: No. 15*
Visit Website

This is a new twist on Old Gold. It is similar to Ontel's Furniture Feet, which was a 2015 True Top Spender.

* Source: DRMetrix Weekly Rankings, Media Week #41

October 11, 2021

Industry News: iSpot Acquires DRMetrix

iSpot.tv announced today that it has acquired Joseph Gray's firm, DRMetrix.

Readers of this blog will be quite familiar with DRMetrix as it is the service that delivers the industry's preferred weekly ranking of DRTV spending. Its technology is also the source of my monthly True Top 10 charts as well as my annual True Top 50 reports.

On the other hand, many may only know iSpot.tv as a useful place to find and watch commercials. The company clearly has much larger ambitions. It seems the service intends to be the one place its clients can go to measure all aspects of their television advertising campaigns.

For instance, earlier this year iSpot acquired Ace Metrix, a research firm that specializes in understanding what consumers think of advertising creative. Using fast focus groups and the latest technological tools for measuring reactions, iSpot via Ace can now help clients understand the persuasive power of their commercials.

With the acquisition of DRMetrix, iSpot gains the technology to detect when national cable networks are running those commercials in both national and Digital Program Insertion (DPI) ad breaks.

“DRMetrix has developed unique and real-time measurement capabilities around creative versioning and dynamic advertising that will become increasingly important as the TV ad market evolves,” says Sean Muller, founder and CEO of iSpot, in today's release.

That evolution is happening quickly. So-called “linear” TV (traditional broadcast and cable television) is shedding viewers at an alarming pace. The challenge is following these “cord cutters” to streaming apps such as YouTube and over-the-top (OTT) services such as Hulu, what iSpot calls “time-shifted, VOD [video on demand] and streaming environments.”

It's exactly that challenge that has Joseph Gray most excited about today's announcement. In a recent conversation, he told me that iSpot gives DRMetrix the ability to determine “household level exposure to TV commercials via devices such as smart TVs.”

“The direct-response industry has always been challenged to measure certain things, such as cover-ups on network cable,” Joseph said. “Now national networks are giving DR advertisers the leftover part of the audience from advanced advertising campaigns and billing it as a traditional DPI ad break. The lack of transparency is frustrating.”

“Advertisers and agencies need a way to understand this type of delivery, and that's why we are incredibly excited to join forces with iSpot,” he continued. “When you measure ad impressions at the 'consumer glass' level (the device itself), quantifying all of these different types of delivery becomes possible.”

October 04, 2021

True Top 10 (September 2021)

Two new (although still familiar) campaigns have broken into the True Top 10. Here is the list for September 2021:

  1. Copper Fit Never Lost Mask
  3. Bell+Howell Bionic Spotlight
  5. MicroTouch Titanium Trim
  7. Granitestone Blue
  9. Bell+Howell Bionic Floodlight
  11. Gotham Steel Hammered Design
  13. NutriChopper
  15. Copper Fit Ice Knee Sleeves
  17. Granitestone/GraniteRock
  19. MicroTouch Titanium Max

That's right: September was basically the Emson and IdeaVillage show. Emson had six of the top 10, and IdeaVillage had the other four. These days, it's all about the brands!

Source: AdSphere™ brand rankings for the last media month.
Visit DRMetrix for more information.

MicroTouch Titanium Max

Description: A micro-trimmer
Pitch: "Goes where no other grooming tool can"
Offer: $14.99 for one
Bonus: None
Brand: MicroTouch Titanium
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Blue Reef
Visit Website

This is the third MicroTouch Titanium rollout. The other two are: MicroTouch Titanium Trim and MicroTouch Solo Titanium.

The former campaign first broke into the True Top 10 in January, and the latter campaign in May.

Gotham Steel Hammered Design

Description: A nonstick pan with a hammered-copper look
Pitch: "Beautify your kitchen like never before"
Offer: $19.99 for one with free shipping
Bonus: Egg pan (free)
Brand: Gotham Steel
Starring: Chef Daniel Green
Marketer: Emson
Producer: Cole
Visit Website