Recall levels high on Pepsi Max spot

The following column is one in an occasional series that shows the results of effectiveness tests on selected tv commercials conducted by advertising research firm, research systems corporation.A proprietary method of measuring the persuasiveness of tv commercials called ARS Persuasion is...

The following column is one in an occasional series that shows the results of effectiveness tests on selected tv commercials conducted by advertising research firm, research systems corporation.

A proprietary method of measuring the persuasiveness of tv commercials called ARS Persuasion is used by rsc.

It is a measurement of the change in brand preference due to commercial exposure.

ARS Persuasion has a 90% accuracy rate in predicting business results in split-cable test markets, and has more than 300 documented validation tests.

Strategy recognizes there are numerous methods to gauge advertising effectiveness and rsc’s approach is but one of them.

During the 1994 Superbowl, an introductory commercial aired for Pepsi Max.

A soft drink with ‘one-third of the calories and all of the taste,’ PepsiCo launched this product to capture the cola buyers who want the taste of a regular cola, but not the calories.

The commercials listen in on conversations between well-known tv personalities regarding the new soft drink.

In one 30-second spot, ‘Seinfeld’s Friends,’ tested by rsc for Strategy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander, who star in the hit sitcom, Seinfeld, are discussing Pepsi Max.

In their conversation, they debate the possibility that ‘some bigwig at Pepsi just made up some false labels’ and this cola is actually regular full-calorie Pepsi.

‘Seinfeld’s Friends,’ which was created by J. Walter Thompson in Toronto, was tested to determine its ability to build preference for Pepsi Max.

Among a sample of 468 Canadian men and women, the ad scored a 3% for Pepsi Max, not significantly lower than the 4% level expected for a new product ad in this category.

For the Pepsi line, the ad scored a +4, above the +3 normative level.

This total Pepsi line score falls into the moderate range of sales elasticity, and indicates that the airing of this ad may produce a sales effect by itself – however, the ad would more likely produce measurable sales increases for Pepsi if aired with additional ads of similar or higher levels of persuasiveness.

ARS Strategic Diagnostics show that ‘Seinfeld’s Friends’ included brand-differentiating key messages – new/taste appeal/low calorie – as well as new product/new feature information, two elements proven to increase the likelihood of superior scores.

Recall levels were high, as 40% of the respondents interviewed recalled the commercial, and the key message was recalled by 26% of the respondents, reaching the 16% communication hurdle proven to contribute to superior scores.

The commercial communicated the ‘same taste as regular Pepsi’ to 12% of the respondents, and the ‘one-third fewer calories’ message was communicated to 24% of the respondents.

Advertising research firm rsc is based in Evansville, Ind., with an office in Oshawa, Ont., and can be contacted at 1-800-395-3983.