How Do You Stimulate Great Creative and Measure It?


At our second annual Creative Effectiveness event, industry visionaries discussed the perspectives, theories, and resources they employ to develop and measure great creative. Attendees joined us in New York City or via livestream to hear fresh insights on the advertising landscape: from using AI as a stimulus for creative to extracting behavioral data and using that to try and inspire creative. Immediately after, we honored the teams behind insights-driven advertising with the ARF David Ogilvy Awards ceremony and dinner. The Gold, Silver and Bronze winners were announced, as well as the reveal of this year’s prestigious Grand Ogilvy Award recipient.

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This discussion addressed three presentations that described insights from surveys on how the pandemic affected consumer behavior during the pandemic and to what extent observed changes will persist. The presentations addressed trends in behaviors and attitudes regarding media (such as linear TV vs. streaming), travel, and also shopping, cooking, and education.

The Performance (Media) Must Go On

Broadbeam Media found past assumptions of consumer behavior being upended by the pandemic. To better understand the transformation happening in the American home, they conducted proprietary research to focus on the respondent’s perceptions of the last year, through sight, taste, hearing, smell, touch, and feel, to influence respondents to think about their last year in a fresh way. The following includes what they learned through the research.

Cross Channel Measurement in a Time of Data Collection Challenges

The average home has over 300,000 items, and consumers may be exposed to 6-10,000 ads daily. We need to overcome measurement silos to truly understand what triggers the different paths to purchase for the same products. Third party data sources need to be vetted on their sources and collection techniques, their validation methods and how they help us understand traditional metrics such as recency, frequency and consistency. Loyalty card data can help CPG companies track the 90% of purchases that still occur offline. IRI’s retailer and other partnerships offer a more holistic view of purchase behavior. In a masked case study, COVID reduced linear and cable but increased connected TV viewing, putting a premium on “equity spots” for in-home occasions such as food preparation/consumption. Multi-touchpoint fractional attribution (MTA) can distinguish the impact of creative from other aspects of digital ads.

A New Metric for Brand Loyalty

There have been dramatic changes in loyalty due to the pandemic, requiring a re-examination of the measures of loyalty, churn, and the value of new vs. loyal buyers. NCSolutions analyzed why it is important to compare loyalty measures longitudinally to gauge a brand’s health, as well as to understand which advertising and promotional strategies have been successful and to determine whether to focus on driving penetration or brand loyalty.


Rex Briggs, Founder & Executive Chairman of Marketing Evolution, who had developed forecasts of US COVID infections and deaths early in 2020, before it had been declared a pandemic, talked about the difficulties in “exponential forecasting” of events like a pandemic, compared to “stable state” forecasting of the impact of media, marketing, and creative. Just as companies might not have anticipated the impact of COVID-19 as it spread, they may be caught “flat-footed” in forecasting the exponential decay of the disease as vaccinations spread in 2021.  Business forecasts of the impact of COVID in 2021 should take into account vaccination rates by age and surveys on acceptance of the vaccine.

Insights Into the Path to the 2020 Election

Robin Garfield, EVP of Research & Scheduling at CNN, discussed the unusual fervor of the American electorate over the past two years: The turnout in the 2018 mid-terms was the highest for any mid-term election since 1914, and the turnout for the 2020 race was the highest for any presidential election since 1908. Campaign spending and viewing of cable news programs soared in 2020.

How is the Coronavirus Impacting the Global Advertising Industry?

The ARF’s second Virtual Town Hall, How is the Coronavirus Impacting the Global Advertising Industry?, focused on the recent coronavirus outbreak and how to best plan and recover from a recession market. Huge parts of the U.S. economy have shut down. From restaurants to gyms to hotel chains, workers are being hit hard as layoffs snowball daily. The advertising industry is feeling the shock as advertising budgets dry up due to postponed launches and canceled sporting, entertainment and business events.