We live in challenging, polarizing, and exciting times. Because of the digital age and smartphones, “information” and “news” travels across the world in a blink of an eye. Creating highly effective ads in this new environment is more challenging than ever, especially for larger Brands trying to appeal to diverse audiences with compelling, unbiased, appropriate messaging across all media channels.
What’s really at stake, however, is brand authenticity. Diverse audiences can spot tokenism in brand messaging in a heartbeat. Is the advertising conveying a company’s true commitment and passion about a cause and driving corporate actions in the same direction?
Or, is the company pretending to care because it is the “right” thing to do, or because the risk of saying or doing the “wrong” thing is so great in today’s hyper-sensitive environment? If the latter is the case, the message risks doing more harm than good.
Creating authentic, passion-driven campaigns requires careful listening and creative testing from the “idea” stage through completion. Effective listening is the foundation of the ABX Continuous Creative Feedback Loop™ and the ABX Global Syndicated Multimedia/Multichannel platform. Perhaps ABX can be of help to you. Meanwhile, the following presents research, insights and case studies on the hottest topics today.
Below are a few examples of how our world has changed from a gender equality standpoint, and to illustrate how quickly consumers’ voices from all cultures, ethnicities and genders can be heard globally. As they say, “There is power in numbers”!
The Women’s Rights Movement began in 1848, and since then, women have been fighting for their rights in their personal lives, over their bodies, and in the boardroom. This includes the famous Freedom Trash Can protest of 1968, in which women disposed of their bras, high heels, lipsticks, mops, etc., to liberate themselves from male oppression. Today, social networking enables billions of users to come together quickly in mass movements.
One such movement is #MeToo which was initiated in 2006 by activist Tarana Burke on MySpace. But it wasn’t until 2017 that #MeToo gained momentum with millions of Americans taking part in the Women’s March a day after President Trump’s inauguration. Today #MeToo is stronger than ever and the status quo is not acceptable.
In 2016, the White House identified unconscious Gender Bias as a leading issue. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) created the #SeeHer campaign to improve the accurate portrayal of women and girls in media by 20% by 2020. Today, SeeHer is a major part of the ANA, with its mission stated as, “Increase the representation and accurate portrayal of all women and girls in marketing, media, and entertainment to reflect culture and transform society.”
To enable #SeeHer to benchmark its progress toward the 2020 goal, ABX developed the first-ever Gender Equality Index™ (GEI™) to establish a set of advertising norms by analyzing 60,000 ads. With 365,000+ ads measured to date, the ABX GEI™ is now the global Gold Standard for the measurement of unconscious gender bias and is licensed to ANA SeeHer as its Gender Equality Measure™ (GEM™).
Case Study: Measuring Unconscious Gender Bias is Profitable
Improving gender portrayal is now a powerful and profitable business strategy since it correlates highly between positive gender scores and brand reputation, and higher calls to action. with Calls to Action. As a result, the ANA, #SeeHer and ABX were honored by ESOMAR, the world’s premiere market research association, as the 2017 ESOMAR Research Effectiveness Award Winners. See the case study HERE.
It turns out that Gender Equality in advertising generates major sales increases among females than other measures of creative effectiveness, according to a 2021 ABX survey of 2,400 consumers representative of the U.S. population 18 years of age and older.
This case study for a national department store saw a strong 0.733 correlation between high GEI scores and sales growth among women based on how they are portrayed in ads. (For more …)
Equal rights for African Americans and other ethnicities is perhaps the hottest of all issues. Looking back, the first significant event was the case, Quock Walker v. Jennison (Massachusetts). Quock Walter, an American slave, sued for and won his freedom in June 1781 based on a new Massachusetts Constitution (1780) which declared all men to be born free and equal.
It wasn’t until Black Lives Matters emerged in 2013 by three black female civil rights activists that changed the paradigm of activism. It began with a social media hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Since then, this movement has gone global. After the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in 2020, #BlackLivesMatter spearheaded a worldwide protest that took only days to organize!
Measuring ads for ethnicities mandates creative “Cultural Sensitivity” by understanding how different ethnic groups live, think and experience the world rather than throwing an African American, a Hispanic and an Asian into unlikely scenes in TV and video spots. Understanding cultures is critical.
A great example from ABX involved pre-testing a Hispanic ad depicting a mother, father and newborn in a hospital setting. Alas, the spot tested poorly because it was not a cultural fit. When the spot was remade showing the couple with the aunts and uncles, grandparents and siblings, it was a great success.
Smart ethnicity marketing is extremely profitable, both in-Country and worldwide. ABX measures Spanish-language ads in-Country as well as in the U.S. Moreover, ABX pre-tests ethnic-centric ads in more than 40 countries, and through syndication in 14. See the power of ethnic marketing below.
For this analysis, Michael Wolfe, Principal of Bottom-Line Analytics (BLA) constructed a predictive marketing mix model measuring the impact of both short- and long-term effects of the company’s advertising and the additional impact from creative messaging on African American shoppers.
For 2021, Big Box Stores’ strategy was to increase its sales and market share among African Americans. The Marketing & Research Team needed to understand how marketing and advertising measurement can be leveraged to attain the critical cultural sensitivity to meet the company objective.
Findings revealed that two-thirds of the store chain’s 23.7% in sales growth came from improved ad creative as measured by the ABX Ad Effectiveness Index. Correlations to sales were high. See full study HERE.
In the March 2020 report, “A Marketers Approach to Diversity and Inclusion,” by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), Marc Pritchard of P&G said, “The images and portrayals of people in advertising affect how people think about the world, so we’re looking to make sure we have completely accurate representation and portrayal of women and girls and every intersectional quality: whether it be race, ethnicity, sexual or gender identity, ability, religion, and age.”
According to the WEF, “For diversity and inclusion to work, it must be part of a long-term strategy that fits in with a brand’s message. People need to believe that what the brand believes in, and how it behaves, are one and the same. A report by visual-content-engine developer Stackla that surveyed 2,000 adults in the UK, US and Australia found that ‘86% of consumers say that authenticity is important when deciding which brands to support.’ Stackla’s study also reported that “57% of consumers believe that less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic.”
The global value of LGBTQ+ consumers is estimated at $3.6 trillion making them equivalent to the 5th biggest country in the world by GDP. The audience is in fact rapidly ceasing to be a minority. In 2018, YouGov found 56% of 18-24 year olds in the UK no longer identified as 100% heterosexual. (All from LGBT Capital in 2018 – Estimated LGBT Purchasing Power: LGBT-GDP)
An ABX survey of 2,400 consumers representative of the U.S. population 18 years of age and older was conducted by ABX. Question areas were designed to help understand attitudes toward hiring, paying, promoting and treating women of all colors and ages; how likely respondents would switch from one company/brand to another based on fair treatment of women; and the importance of various factors related to diversity and inclusion.
Overall, 7 in 10 respondents find gender fairness practices by companies to be very important or somewhat important, with men responding more favorably than women at a statistically significant level (95% confidence interval). Of the 14 factors measured, men responded at a higher level than women in all cases with 10 of 14 at a statistically significant level (95% confidence interval).
Todays’ consumers, especially Gen Z, are both socially and environmentally conscious. Many consumers exercise their beliefs through the brands they purchase. They also research the environmental stance of companies producing these brands both online and offline.
In addition, marketing and advertising a “cause” at a point-in-time isn’t enough. Rather, consumers want to see action and commitment within and outside these companies, not just short term, but also long term. They won’t accept Green Washing, Rainbow Washing, etc. And by the way, Cancel Culture is alive and well.
A recent national survey by Golin, “Justice For All,” tested the perceptions and responsibility of environmental justice, and further illustrates the seriousness of these issues:
While various initiatives and laws are being put into place such as DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) to measure company performance, nothing beats continuously listening to consumers, taking action internally and externally, and creating “un-stereotyped, meaningful and effective communication to drive the cultural change we need” across all media channels.
ABX listens in real-time by measuring environmental sensitivity in ad effectiveness and surveys. To create highly authentic, successful ads in this new environment, you need the ABX Continuous Creative Feedback Loop™, powered by the ABX Global Integrated Single Solution™, that provides real-time insights through the ABX Global Syndicated Platform. We can help.
As discussed above, the worst thing a company can do is “green-wash” or just grab a current issue (like Covid) and expect either to have lasting impact on savvy audiences. The three TV/Video ads for Household Goods featured below all score in the top X% of all 365,000+ ads ABX has tested to date. The advertisers and agencies behind each brand have successfully committed to ongoing efforts toward environmental sustainability that resound in an authentic match to the products themselves.
Cascade, :30 Online Video, “We do it Every Night” – ABX Index 146
Charmin, :30 Online Video, “At Charmin we Make Paper but we Love Trees” – ABX 132
Quilted Northern, :15 TV, “This is Comfy Quilted Northern Ultra …”- ABX 131
The ABX “Average” Index is 100, so these ads are 46%, 32% and 31% over norm but many of these KPIs are much higher and important commonalities are readily seen.
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Written by Angela Jeffrey, Vice President Brand Management & Diane Light Waight, Vice President Business Development.
For additional information, a discussion or a demo, click HERE.
Jeff has more than 25 years of market research experience including project management, client service, operations, production and sales.
Before joining the ABX Senior Management team, Jeff was a Senior Account Manager at Ipsos, working with Procter & Gamble and other client assignments. Prior to that, he was Senior Project Manager for Opinion One, where he was responsible for guiding the company’s online, mall and other initiatives for eight years.
Jeff began his market research career with Cooper Research while participating in the Professional Practice Program at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon graduating with his BS in Marketing and Management, Jeff led a team of data analysts as Group Manager at Matrixx Marketing Research (now Concentrix).
Jeff’s broad in-depth marketing research experiences enable him to bring a unique perspective to directing operations that creates effective and efficient environments to support a wide range of client activities. Having come up in the industry alongside the advent and progression of online interviewing, he has a unique perspective on the benefits and challenges of conducting quality research resulting in meaningful results.
Jeff considers himself an amateur music historian and sports enthusiast, as well as a family man, who takes advantage of the many outdoor activities in his community including biking, hiking, kayaking and swimming.
Dr. Peter Moomaw
Peter is the primary developer of operations technology and data analysis. As a chief visionary on the Research and Development team, Peter works to generate innovative ideas for the continued development of processes and protocols.
Peter brings 17+ years’ experience in software development in the market research industry. He was previously at Opinion One, where he was integral in the development of research software systems covering a number of areas.
Peter has a BA in Mathematics, a BS in Physics, and a PhD in Physics, all from the University Cincinnati.
Michael is one Founders of Ocucom, of which ABX is a division, and has over 12 years’ of software engineering experience in the market research industry. As a Lead Software Engineer with Ocucom, he brings a unique blend of a technological background along with hands-on market research experience. Michael specializes in providing custom software solutions utilizing Ocucom’s dynamic software platform to address unique client needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Prior to starting with Ocucom, Michael was a senior software engineer at Opinion One in Cincinnati, where he was one of the principal architects of the OASIS 2 Survey Software Package. He also played a key role in developing a licensable solution to bring to the market place as well as handling the logistics of on-site training and support of end-client users.
Michael obtained his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati.
Greg Tunstill, a founder of ABX, is the Chief Information Officer responsible for ABX’s technical infrastructure and maintenance. He also leads the design and development of ABX’s communications tools, a critical component of its technology services.
Prior to joining ABX, Greg was Director of Network Operations of Opinion One since its inception in 1992. He designed and developed the communications systems that were the core of its data collection networks and was responsible for continuing development and implementation of information technologies. Prior to his position at Opinion One, he designed inventory control and expert systems for BellSouth field offices and worked as a consultant and independent contractor. In 1991 he joined Americom Research as a systems engineer where he advanced to Director of Network Operations and met members of the team that formed Opinion One.
Greg is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.
Julian brings 20+ years of software engineering and market research experience to ABX. As one of the Founders and in his position as Chief Technology Officer, Julian is the chief visionary responsible for strategic planning and development.
His primary day to day roles include management of software development, oversight of survey production, and lead architect for custom software development projects. As the principal technology architect, Julian adapts emerging technologies for use in market research. He is responsible for maintaining the “continuous development” philosophy.
Before becoming one of the Founders, Julian was Vice President, Software Engineering at Opinion One. In this capacity, he was responsible for the design and development of Opinion One’s core technology and licensing products.
Prior to Opinion One, Julian worked for Americom Research, starting as a Software Engineer and progressing to Director, Software Development. While at Americom Research, Julian pioneered the design and creation of one of the market research industry’s first fully interactive computer-aided interviewing suites.
Julian received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Middle Tennessee State University.
Gary has an extensive background in product development, strategic planning, and sales/marketing. He is a frequent speaker to the advertising, marketing, and public relations communities.
Gary is a pioneer in efforts to measure and analyze the combined impact of news coverage, social media, and advertising communications on key business metrics, such as sales or product preferences, with ground-breaking work linking communications activity to business outcomes. He was also one of the first to apply artificial intelligence to better understand how communications impacts consumer behavior.
As part of these pioneering integrated measurements, the need to benchmark every ad and build a comprehensive database of advertising performance metrics for evaluating all advertising creative became clear. Gary has been part of the ABX management group that developed the methodology, technology, and criteria for measuring advertising performance globally, and at scale, in an affordable manner.
Now Gary and all ABX partners work with communications leaders across a diverse set of industries to expand that understanding by incorporating the first-ever Gender Equality Index™, creative measurement solutions for ESG, Diversity & Inclusion, Ethnicities (in and out-of-country), Product Placement/Integration, Brand Fit™, Gaming, Audio and more.
Gary holds a B.S., in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and a Masters in Management Science from Stevens Institute of Technology.
J. J. Klein
JJ Klein has devoted his entire career to developing more valid and reliable information through syndicated and custom longitudinal research programs for Fortune 500 companies. This extensive knowledge base enabled him to create and develop ABX, which now offers the most accurate normative database for advertising effectiveness measurement in the marketplace.
JJ brings more than 35 years of marketing, research, consulting, and technology experience in designing and developing methodologies and programs for long-term growth. He has exceptional strength in domestic and international new business development, strategic planning, and identifying and tracking consumer, retail, and industry trends.
Leadership in Top Global Research Firms
Early in his career, after attending City University in New York as a math and science major, JJ joined Simmons Market Research Bureau as a Project Director. Over time, he rose to Associate Executive Vice President. Among his accomplishments, JJ created the first online interactive data analysis and delivery system for agencies, media, institutions, client, and service companies.
JJ and Bill Simmons then founded a new venture …Three Sigma Research Center. It was here that JJ, Chief Operating Officer, created the first major syndicated rating system for Newspapers in the U.S., which later became the Scarborough Report. Three Sigma Research was eventually sold back to Simmons; Simmons sold it to Scarborough; and then Scarborough was acquired by Nielsen.
Following the sale of Three Sigma, JJ joined Audits & Surveys Worldwide as a principal leading the sales tracking and market share audits for a broad range of retail and service establishments both domestically and internationally. Following the acquisition of Audits & Surveys by GfK, JJ joined Roper Starch as Executive Director, reporting directly to the Chairman.
Creation and Development of Ocucom™ and ABX™
In 2004, as he continued his industry visionary travels, all of JJ’s experience came together as he tackled new solutions for market research in the Internet age. He and four partners founded Ocucom™ and invented a research-proven, respondent-oriented Ocular™ approach to internet sampling and multi-modal interviewing methodology. For the first time, respondents could answer text-based questions within a visual communication world where the computer screen was the interviewer/communicator. Inventions continued such as Ocucom’s PreCast™, the first long-form video viewing solution in the industry.
Also, during this time, JJ’s early leadership in internet research methodology caught the eye of top-tier global research competitors. He ended up designing methodologies for their online survey capabilities.
Then, in early 2012, he formed ABX™ as an outgrowth of Ocucom. JJ had conceived the idea for ABX some 15 years prior but had to wait for internet maturation and online panel/sampling companies to evolve. ABX partners focused on JJ’s ABX concept and methodology by building an infrastructure and a 5-year formative database before opening to the market in 2018. The new company offered the first high-quality Ocular research system for all ads in all media types with detailed, never-before analytics; the first syndicated, all-media type ad effectiveness platform; results in 24-to-48 hours on dashboard, and significantly lower costs. At ABX, as at Ocucom, inventions have continued such as the expansion of the ABX syndicated program into the first-ever global solution, and the first Gender Equality Index™. Solutions have expanded to include creative measurement for ESG, Diversity & Inclusion, Ethnicities (in and out of country), Product Placement/Integration, Brand Fit, Gaming, Audio, and more.
A Career Devoted to Validity and Reliability in Market Research
JJ’s background brings together an extremely unique blend of extensive experience in designing and developing global and regional longitudinal research programs. His accomplishments include the design and initiation of programs and methods that produce more valid and reliable information. They also include contributions to the market research profession through association membership, speaking, writing, and presenting.
Like Nielsen for TV, Arbitron for Radio, and MRI for Magazine, JJ’s original design for the newspaper program continues as the Scarborough Report ratings standard for Newspaper. Today, JJ leads ABX as a syndicated and custom research service for ad effectiveness and gender equality, which have quickly become the gold standards of their own.
Angela Jeffrey, APR
Angela is an internationally known speaker and national award-winning veteran of public relations, advertising and marketing. She has been a teacher and leader in the use of metrics to measure communications impact for over 20 years, especially at the intersection of PR and Advertising.
Angela is primarily responsible for all ABX marketing efforts, and for projects that involve PR or social media measurement. She is the primary driver of our collaboration with the prestigious Institute for Public Relations as we develop methods to measure the impact of PR and social media on advertising effectiveness.
Prior to joining ABX, Angela was Strategy Director at Salience Insight, (now CARMA), a global provider of PR effectiveness measurement. Previously, she was a Vice President at Surveillance Data, Inc., an international analytics powerhouse that specializes in predictive modeling. Angela continued as a key leader upon the sale of her division to VMS and helped develop Vantage, with Gary Getto, the first platform to measure the combined impact of PR and Advertising.
Angela graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a BFA in Journalism and BBA in Marketing.
Diane has 20+ years of experience helping Marketing, Advertising, and PR decision-makers at global brands, media companies, and agencies increase their ROI by connecting and authentically engaging their target customers through Sales, Business Development. MarTech, AdTech, Big Data, Market Research, SaaS, eCommerce, and Integrated Marketing.
She is passionate about her family, entertainment, health & wellness, empowering women, and environmental sustainability.