Cheerios gets tepid response

The following column is one in a regular series that shows the results of effectiveness tests on selected tv commercials conducted by advertising research company research systems corporation. rsc uses a proprietary method of measuring the persuasiveness of tv spots called...

The following column is one in a regular series that shows the results of effectiveness tests on selected tv commercials conducted by advertising research company research systems corporation. rsc uses a proprietary method of measuring the persuasiveness of tv spots called ARS Persuasion. It is a measurement of the change in brand preference due to commercial exposure. It has a 90% accuracy rate in correctly predicting business results in split-cable test markets and has more than 300 documented validation cases. Strategy recognizes there are numerous methods to gauge advertising effectiveness and rsc’s approach is but one of them. Our intention in running the column is to highlight the important role of research in advertising, and to stimulate thought on the subject of advertising effectiveness. The panel that viewed the following commercial is a randomly selected group of males and females aged 16+, which is representative of the Toronto area population on major demographic variables. Results are typically analyzed among potential category purchases and customer-defined target groups.

General Mills Canada is supporting Apple & Cinnamon Cheerios with a new execution recently launched in the Toronto market.

The 30-second commercial, produced by General Mills ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi in New York and adapted for the Canadian market by FCB/Ronalds-Reynolds in Toronto, uses a fast-paced format, with quick cuts between close-ups of adults and children eating the advertised brand.

As well, there are close-up shots of apples being sliced, cinnamon being grated, oats exploding from the box, and Cheerios splashing in milk.

Soundtrack

A high-energy soundtrack accompanies these visuals. A voiceover states that with its ingredients, Apple & Cinnamon Cheerios ‘tastes as good as it sounds.’

In a test conducted for Strategy by research systems corporation, this execution achieved an ARS Persuasion level of +1.9 among the sample of 320 female past-year category buyers.

Given this outcome at the time of testing, further airing of this execution would not likely lead to a measurable sales/share increase for Apple & Cinnamon Cheerios.

Only 14% of the respondents recalled the commercial, and only 6% played back the ‘taste appeal’ key sales message.

Research by rsc has shown that commercials which achieve an adequate level of attention/ memorability (23% or higher), and communicate the key message to 16% or more of the viewers have a higher likelihood of obtaining superior ARS Persuasion outcomes than other commercials.

The spot uses none of the strategic elements found to be positively associated with superior ARS Persuasion outcomes.

Among these are brand differentiation, competitive comparison, information on new products and features, and product convenience.

It is unlikely that higher recall and more effective communication alone will lead to increased commercial effectiveness without a persuasive selling proposition.

research systems corporation is based in Evansville, Ind. with an office in Oshawa, Ont., and can be reached at (416) 623-0872.