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A Journey in Copy Testing

Roberto Cymrot, The Coca-Cola Company 
Laura Derrick, Kantar Millward Brown

Back in 2012, a big chunk of Coca-Cola’s media spend was supporting ads that were tested after they aired or completely untested. Then the global CEO mandated all ads to be tested through Millward Brown Link with one proprietary score that would predict in-market performance, i.e. The One Number Score–ONS.

For an ad to air, it must be at the 75th percentile within the Millward Brown database—this was a big shock for the agencies. The initial roll-out was not a great success. ONS became known as the “creativity killer.”

They demystified the process with 2-hour trainings with all stakeholders. They found that it was crucial to get buy-ins across the board. Key strategies for proving the partnership:

  • It’s a true priority: the mandate came from the global CEO
  • Kickoff each session with a direct challenge: ask stakeholders to really think of the ads and pick which ones they wanted their names attached
  • Throughout the training, highlight teams with wins: create case studies to be shared throughout organization and show that this can be done. This tapped into natural competitive edge
  • Support brand teams through the process, esp. through knowledge

Results:

  • TV effectiveness increased by 25%
  • Coca Cola Knowledge & Insights team and Millward Brown viewed as friend rather than fr-enemy
  • Copy testing is no longer just a check box
  • Moving upstream: research done earlier in the process

 

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