Commercial testing techniques

The following is a list of proprietary commercial testing techniques available in Canada.Descriptions of the techniques were submitted by their suppliers and may have been edited for brevity.The list was compiled with the assistance of research consultants Luke Sklar, president of...

The following is a list of proprietary commercial testing techniques available in Canada.

Descriptions of the techniques were submitted by their suppliers and may have been edited for brevity.

The list was compiled with the assistance of research consultants Luke Sklar, president of Toronto-based Luke Sklar & Associates, and Tim Wingrove, partner at Toronto-based Commins Wingrove, among others.


Execution: 100 target group respondents in malls are shown a commercial at regular intervals while a campaign is in progress.

Variables measured: Changes in persuasion and interest scores indicate when a commercial is beginning to ‘wear out.’

Clients: Major packaged goods, retail and financial institutions.

Supplier: Dadson Research

335 Renfrew Dr., Suite 101, Markham, Ont. L3R 9S9

Tel: (905) 513-7413 FAX: (905) 513-7576

Jim Dadson, president

ARS Persuasion

Execution: Four hundred+ randomly drawn men and women view a television preview. Each test commercial and 11 other unrelated commercials are inserted into television pilots. Respondents are given two simulated purchase occasions before and after exposure to the tv material. The net shift in brand preference is the ARS Persuasion Measure. Three days after the tv preview, 280+ respondents are given a standard related recall interview. A full set of validated diagnostics is provided. A forced exposure communications test is also available.

Variables measured: ARS Persuasion measures the net shift (retention and attraction) in brand preference. Commercial memorability and communications are measured. Custom communications issues can also be investigated.

Clients: (not provided)

Supplier: research systems corporation

110 Walnut St., Evansville, Ind. 47708

Tel: (812) 425-4562 FAX: (812) 425-2844

Mark Gleason, senior vice-president of marketing and new business development

Burke Adtest

Execution: Target consumers recruited via mall intercept to view test commercial in an enclosed facility. The test commercial is shown twice and a series of standardly probed, open-ended questions and key measures ratings are asked after each showing.

Variables measured: Provides a fully diagnostic assessment of a commercial’s ability to communicate its intended message clearly, believably and in a motivating and involving fashion. Scores are compared to a normative database of several hundred tests.

Clients: (not provided)

Supplier: Burke International Research

1075 Bay Street, Toronto, Ont. M5S 2X5

Tel: (416) 924-5454 FAX: (416) 924-5150

Mary Graham, president

The Clucas Diagnostic Advertising Research Technique

Execution: The test commercial is shown in an unselfconscious viewing situation to respondents who have no idea that it will be subjected to testing. This context is achieved by placing the test piece in an advertising break carried in a segment of programming. Subsequent to this exposure, a reprise mechanism re-establishes the initial processes of perceptual and cognitive communication.

Variables measured: Qualitative and quantitative analyses of the communication process between commercial and respondent that occurs during an unselfconscious exposure to advertising and the cognitive processing that the viewer applies to the advertising event.

Clients: Lenscrafters, Dairy Bureau of Canada, Unilever Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sears Canada, Warner-Lambert, Ontario Milk Marketing Board, Pepsi-Cola Canada, Campbell Soup Company, Cara Foods (Swiss Chalet.)

Supplier: J.E. Clucas & Associates (Canada)

33 Casebridge Court, Ste. 8, Scarborough, Ont. M1B 3J5

Tel: (416) 283-8877 FAX: (416) 283-7837

Chris Larcombe, director of client services


Execution: Matched samples of 100 target group respondents are drawn from shopping mall traffic. One group of 100 (control) sees no advertising; the other group of 100 sees the test commercial.

Variables measured: Differences in persuasion (purchase interest, attitudes) determines effectiveness of the commercial.

Clients: (see AdTrack, above)

Supplier: Dadson Research (see AdTrack, above)

Comtest Plus

Execution: Interviews with 100-150 members of the target group. The commercial is incorporated into a reel of eight other typical commercials. Intrusiveness is measured and compared to benchmark data. Interview goes on to measure communication, attitudes towards brand and commercial, and persuasiveness. Benchmarks on key measures can be done for both finished and rough commercials.

Variables measured: Intrusiveness, how well it communicates the intended message, and how well that message increases attitudes favoring the brand.

Clients: Categories include health and beauty aids, confectionery, food, household products and services.

Supplier: Creative Research International

100 Sheppard Ave. East, Ste. 700, Toronto, Ont. M2N 6N5

Tel: (416) 250-8500 FAX: (416) 250-8515

Bob Stewart, executive vice-president

Creative Lab Test (CLT) System

Execution: Random selection of key prospects. Single exposure of test ad in isolation (no other ads, programs) to single isolated prospect. Standard interview administered by professional trained interviewer in private personal interview.

Variables measured: Involvement (attention ‘capture’); communications (message perception); conviction (propensity to consider/act); brand presence (proprietorship.)

Clients: (not provided)

Supplier: Poole-Adamson Research Consultants

12 Bruce Park Ave., First Floor, Toronto, Ont. M4P 2S3

Tel: (416) 483-2252 FAX: (not provided)

Tery Poole, president

Gallup AdTest

Execution: Twenty-five randomly selected participants are asked to view the television commercials to be tested. The test consists of a series of 40 scales (bi-polar adjectives.) Each dimension is rated using a seven-point scale. Dimensions are organized into four themes. In addition, a total score (the sum of the four themes) is also calculated.

Variables measured: communication (ability to project the intended message); grabber (vitality and overall attractiveness); presentation (smoothness and grace); image extension (sincerity and honesty.)

Supplier: Gallup Canada

180 Bloor St. W., 10th Floor, Toronto, Ont. M5S 2V6

Tel: (416) 961-2811 FAX: (416) 961-3662

Gerald Germany, director of marketing and sales

Inter-ad; Inter-ad Plus

Execution: Respondents are shown a commercial and are asked to enter into computers their agreement or disagreement with 50 to 60 statements. For each response statistically different from the norm, respondents are probed ‘why.’ Routinely included are questions on a brand’s personality as presented in the advertising.

Variables measured: Measures target group involvement with the advertising, that is, empathy, likability, entertainment and brand personality/personification. Inter-ad Plus, soon to be introduced, is completely computer-assisted and will enable clients to monitor interviewing from their offices.

Clients: Fortune 500 companies.

Supplier: Gadd International Research

23 Lee Ave., Toronto, Ont. M4E 2N8

Tel: (416) 699-4299 FAX: (416) 699-9367

Mike Gadd, president


Execution: Combines quantitative questions and diagnostic qualitative questions in a structured, customized questionnaire. The custom sample consists of 150 target group respondents in a central location setting. All complete the key rating scales, 100 answer the diagnostic questions and 75 complete the non-verbal interest trace.

Variables measured: The link copy test system measures the extent to which the commercial is likely to get noticed, is involving, well-branded, delivers the message empathetically and on strategy and triggers a favorable brand response. It measures the strength of the link between the creative, the brand name and the message, identifies the focus of attention and possible barriers to effective communication and provides guidance on fine-tuning to improve ad performance. Findings are interpreted against communications objectives and the link database. The system predicts on-air communications efficiency, validated against tracking results.

Clients: (not provided)

Supplier: Millward Brown Canada

4687 Yonge St., North York, Ont. M2N 5M3

Tel: (416) 733-4466 FAX: (416) 733-4360

Anik N. Karimjee, senior research executive

McCollum Spielman AdVantage/ACT Copy Testing System

Execution: Groups of the pre-recruited target audience view segments of television pilots with commercials imbedded in a clutter, then answer a full series of evaluative and diagnostic questions, using written questionnaires. Results are evaluated in comparison to normative data for the category.

Variables measured: Recall, communication and persuasion (attitude shift, pre-/post-exposure) against category norms; as well as extensive open-ended and close-ended diagnostics.

Clients: Kraft General Foods Canada, Campbell Soup Company of Canada, Ford Canada, General Motors of Canada, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, Block Drug Company, Pepsi-Cola Canada, Connors Brothers, Pillsbury Canada, L&F Canada.

Supplier: Generations Research

2345 Yonge St., Suite 710, Toronto, Ont. M4P 2E5

Tel: (416) 489-6282 FAX: (416) 489-1721

Contact: Goody Gerner, president

PEAC System

Execution: Participants use hand-held microcomputers to record their reaction to client material in two modes: moment-to-moment, which continuously measures their reactions; and question mode, which records their responses to closed-ended questions. Next, a ‘focussed’ group discussion provides qualitative insight into audience reactions.

Variables measured: The PEAC System links diagnostics with validated evaluative measures to understand what is working and what is not and why. Measures include likability, relevance, credibility, informativeness, importance, recall and persuasion.

Clients: Ontario Lottery, Canada Trust, Sears, Duracell, Government of Ontario, ibm, Coca-Cola, Quaker Oats, Thomas Cook Group.

Supplier: VMI/Viewfacts

236 Avenue Rd., Toronto, Ont. M5R 2J4

Tel: (416) 922-1361 FAX: (416) 920-9809

Gary Gillan, manager, market research

Perception Analyzer

Execution: The Perception Analyzer is a portable data collection device. Each session participant can instantaneously indicate reactions to any type of test material, providing a continuum of responses. Participants use a hand-held dial to record their reactions to test material. Each dial is connected directly to the Perception Analyzer which digitizes and records the participants’ reactions at pre-determined intervals as short as one second.

Variables measured: Participant reactions to advertising material, public policy alternatives, pricing scenarios and packaging material.

Clients: Lottery organizations, tourism marketers, retail firms, political parties, consumer goods companies and high technology companies.

Supplier: Criterion Research

144 Front St. West, Suite 285, Toronto, Ont. M5J 2L7

Tel: (416) 591-6655 FAX: (416) 591-8539

Sally Edmonds Preiner, senior research associate

Recruited Commercial Recall (rcr)

Execution: Random telephone screening and recruitment of consumers to watch a television program at home. Telephone recall of 150 viewers who are questioned briefly about the program and in detail about recall of a test commercial aired during the program in response to a category and/or brand prompt.

Variables measured: Media efficiency, conducted under normal viewing conditions. It measures a commercial’s relative ability to gain viewer attention and deliver a memorable impression in association with the brand name.

Clients: (not provided)

Supplier: (see Burke Adtest, above)


Execution: Target respondents are recruited for one-on-one interviews conducted in a permanent research facility. Using a round-robin technique, two or more strategic/creative approaches are pre-tested. All executions (usually animatic form) are evaluated on a number of qualitative and quantitative measures by at least 50 respondents.

Variables measured: star measures how well commercials deliver the intended strategy, that is, how well they meet the strategic objectives for the brand. Specific measures include: message delivery, benefit delivery, emotional response, connection of product messages to emotional needs of the consumer, entertainment value, involvement value and response to plot and creative devices used.

Clients: Lever Brothers, Kraft General Foods, Canadian Egg Marketing Agency, S.C. Johnson.

Supplier: Laser Marketing Research

5405 Eglinton Ave. W., Ste. 106,

Etobicoke, Ont. M9C 5K6

Tel: (416) 695-7474 FAX: (416) 695-7483

Brian Cockle, president