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Independent Audit Confirms MSW-ARS TouchPoint® Copy Test System’s Powerful Linkage to Financial Performance

February 20th, 2018 Comments off

Last week the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) announced that TouchPoint®, MSW-ARS’s advertising copy test solution, has completed the Marketing Metric Audit Protocol (MMAP) – MASB’s formal process for validating the relationship between a marketing measurement and financial performance.

TouchPoint uses a behavioral, multi-media experience to collect the criterion CCPersuasion® metric. This unique approach avoids common pitfalls, such as cooperation bias, of more direct approaches and thus allows for a more meaningful measurement of consumer preferences.  In fact, CCPersuasion utilizes the patented CCPreference® system (also successfully audited by MASB) as its foundation.  The TouchPoint system is flexible enough to measure individual ads as well as full multi-execution campaigns across a wide variety of media types, and integrates extensive diagnostic feedback demonstrated in the audit to have a strong track record in helping to improve the effectiveness of tested copy.

In the MMAP audit, the CCPersuasion metric was assessed against the MMAP ten characteristics of an ideal metric, as well as MASB’s guidelines for measures of marketing productivity.

Most vitally, the audit requires metrics to substantiate a specific link to financial performance. Regarding the TouchPoint system, the MMAP audit concluded that the CCPersuasion metric is able to quantify the likelihood and magnitude of an ad’s impact on future sales volume and market share.  This is based on a wealth of information collected over many years proving the predictive validity of the CCPersuasion metric.

Specifically, the audit indicates that the CCPersuasion measure predicts TV advertising’s impact on market results at ~0.90 correlation level when the effect of the ad is isolated from the other elements of the marketing mix. One published study that substantiates this conclusion relates the predicted sales volume impacted by advertising to the actual sales volume impacted from independent Marketing Mix Modeling analysis:


What does this mean for advertisers? Well, there are a number of different aspects of the TouchPoint system that have been demonstrated to help improve advertising’s Return on Investment.

On the most basic level, an advertising copy test system is used to qualify specific executions for airing or is applied upstream to determine which initiatives should precede for further development. Since TouchPoint uses a criterion measure strongly related to sales impact, advertisers can have confidence that these decisions will be made on the basis of improving advertising’s return.  TouchPoint takes this a step further by providing the Fair Share® benchmark, a unique modeled norm that is superior to traditional normative approaches.  Fair Share represents an estimate of the sales effectiveness, in terms of CCPersuasion level, for a typical ad for the advertised brand, given the category environment and the brand’s position in that environment.

In addition to giving a meaninfgul go/no-go indication on copy, the magnitude validation of the CCPersuasion metric allows for a forecast of an ad’s expected impact when aired. This is implemented through use of an easy to use elasticity grid which sets expectations based on the CCPersuasion level.



In addition, MSW-ARS has decades of experience researching and publishing on the topic of advertising wearout. By marrying the findings of validation studies with these wearout learnings, we developed the patented Outlook® media planner.   The Outlook planner, which has been cited in numerous award winning case studies, enables brands to forecast sales impact, plan the number of executions needed to meet business objectives, and allocate media spend among multiple tested executions so as to optimize return on advertising investment.



The TouchPoint system is also capable of assessing early stage stimuli using the same validated methodology to raise the odds of success before costly development on specific executions has begun. This is demonstrated through a study linking the test results of early stage video value propositions with the CCPersuasion levels of finished executions developed from these propositions.  The results show that ads based on strong value propositions are much more likely to perform above benchmark at the finished execution stage.



As noted earlier, the TouchPoint system incorporates extensive diagnostics that have been shown to significantly relate to the criterion CCPersuasion measure and which have been shown to provide guidance for improving the effectiveness of tested copy. This diagnostic learning is also key in helping brands understand what is working and how it can best be deployed.  The potential for improvement fueled by validated diagnostic feedback over the course of time is illustrated by a four year case study in which a global MSW-ARS client was able to improve both qualification rate and average CCPersuasion level year-over-year for each year of the study.



Finally, it should be noted that CCPreference, the foundation of TouchPoint’s CCPersuasion metric, is a common metric running throughout the range of MSW-ARS solutions from early stage creative development through copy testing and creative and brand health tracking. This provides marketers with a unique ability to better connect research from one stage of the advertising process to the next, avoiding potential outages that can occur when attempting to move between different stages in the research process which are assessed using different systems and metrics.



To learn more about the TouchPoint copy test system, it’s performance on the MMAP audit and how it can help improve your brand’s financial return from advertising, please contact us at


Television’s Brand Building Power – How It Has Changed Over the Years

June 20th, 2017 Comments off

Radical changes continue to shape the media landscape. While much recent research has been conducted on the effectiveness of new platforms, less attention has been given to that media plan staple, television advertising. Is television as effective as it was in the 1980s? Or has its role diminished to the point of non-viability? And if still effective, how does it compare to other media platform options available today?

Last week, research that directly answers these questions was presented at the annual ARF Audience Measurement Conference in New Jersey. This research includes an update of MSW●ARS’s landmark advertising wearout study, An Empirical Investigation of Advertising Wearin and Wearout (which was chosen by the Journal of Advertising Research as one of “18 Articles That Have Withstood the Test of Time”).  The analysis was a joint effort by MSW●ARS Research, the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MSAB) and Nielsen Research.  ESPN’s Kelly Johnson joined MASB Executive Director Frank Findley on the podium to deliver not only the latest findings on advertising wearout but also other important new learning and case studies.

The major conclusions from the study include the following:

  • On a single, quality exposure basis the television ad format is as effective now as it was in the 1980s (based on copy-testing for 30-second television ads collected within the United States for typical categories with brands advertising throughout the years 1980 to 2014 using a consistent methodology, MSW●ARS Research’s CCPersuasionTM measure).

wearout chart 1


  • The rate of delivery of ad selling power per GRP has slowed, requiring approximately 25% more GRPs to deliver the same power to market as it did in the 1980s.

wearout chart 2


  • More than mitigating this decline, the number of U.S. households has increased by 45%.

wearout chart 3


  • Despite a potential increase in distracted viewing, television advertising still maintains an effective frequency profile that is comparable to other media channels including digital.

wearout chart 4


The study also explores how advertising wearout learning can be combined with advertising effectiveness testing to create a metric highly predictive of in-market outcomes and which allows for media planning guidance and optimization of media spend.

For a copy of the full MSW●ARS Research white paper, Television’s Brand Building Power – How It Has Changed Over the Years, please contact us at

The Challenges of a New Brand Name – 5 Empirically Supported Tactics to Improve Your Results

March 31st, 2017 Comments off

It’s common for new products to leverage existing brand names.  This could be line-extension – a new variety of an existing brand in the same category; or a brand-extension – a new product in a new category using an existing brand name.  In either case, the new product can take advantage of the brand’s existing equity which will typically lessen barriers to trial among consumers and improve the chance of gaining distribution among retailers, among other potential benefits.

It is much less common for new products to be released under a completely new brand name.  It happens when manufacturers enter completely new categories unrelated to existing brands; or when leveraging existing brand equities is inappropriate for the product’s proposition.  We examined the MSW●ARS advertising database to provide an estimate of how common this is.  The fact is, it is comparatively rare, with only between six and seven-percent of new product advertising tests being conducted for products with completely new brand names.

That being said, there are a huge number of new products introduced each year and so that six to seven percent actually represents a very large number of new brand introductions annually.  This is illustrated in the following chart, which shows the trend in U.S. new product introductions among consumer packaged goods between 1998 and 2016.  The chart also shows a strong uptick in new product introductions in 2016, as brands try to take advantage of a strengthening economy and the associated phenomenon of consumers being more willing to try new things.  In this environment, completely new brands are not only more likely to be tried by manufacturers, but they’re also more likely to be tried by consumers.

Blog 2017 03 31 FIG 001

Source: Mintel’s Global New Product Database

While there are many challenges for a new product before launch, once it is in the market it is imperative that the product gain awareness and sufficient trial to earn continued support among retailers in order to maintain distribution and shelf space.  For a new product with a completely new brand name this can be challenging.  We examined the MSW●ARS database and looked at new product advertising and compared Related Recall levels for ads for completely new brands versus those for line- and brand-extensions.  Note that the Related Recall measure is designed to capture the efficiency of creative to breakthrough and create a memorable impression of the advertising and this metric has been strongly linked to movements in awareness.

We found that, on average, Related Recall levels for ads for completely new brands are only 64% of those for other new brand ads.


Blog 2017 03 31 FIG 002

Source: MSW●ARS Analytical Database

Clearly ads for brands with completely new names struggle to create a strong branded impression in the minds of viewers.  Established brand names already have associations in the minds of consumers which ads for a line- or brand-extension can tie into and more easily leave a lasting impression.  Ads for a product with a new brand name are starting from scratch – a much more daunting task.

To further illustrate the challenge, we used the MSW●ARS new brand awareness model to compare average ads for completely new brands versus those for other new products.  We found that in order to gain the same level of brand awareness as an average ad for a line- or brand-extension at 1000 GRPs, an average ad for a completely new brand would require about 1450 – a substantially larger media investment.

Taking steps to improve an ad’s ability to break through will not only help build awareness with a lower media spend, it will also help nudge viewers toward trial.  There is a significant relationship between an ad’s Related Recall level and its level of persuasiveness (as measured by the MSW●ARS CCPersuasion measure, which has been shown to be strongly correlated to new product trial level and is predictive of the magnitude of market share gain for established products).  And in fact this is especially true for completely new brands.

Blog 2017 03 31 FIG 003

Source: MSW●ARS Analytical Database

So how can a completely new brand improve its communications and make it more likely that the brand name registers and persuades consumers to try the brand?  Here are 5 empirically supported methods which can help new brands do just that.

1.  Ensure sufficient branding:

Analysis of the MSW●ARS copy-testing database indicates that sufficient branding is beneficial for all product types, but for completely new brands it is vital.  Two proven measures of branding are the number of times the brand name is spoken and how long the brand name or logo is shown on-screen.  As can be seen in the following chart, completely new brand 30-second ads incorporating these branding elements realize a boost in Related Recall about five times greater than that realized by other new product ads.

Blog 2017 03 31 FIG 004

Source:  MSW●ARS Analytical Database

2.  Avoid Short Ad Lengths:

The use of shorter ad lengths can be especially challenging for completely new brands.  While the number of 15-second ads for completely new brand names in the MSW●ARS database is relatively small (reflecting the fact the few even attempt this), it appears that Related Recall levels for these ads versus other new product 15-second ads are at a ratio even lower than the 64% level seen across all ad lengths.

3.  Consider a Meaningful Brand Name:

One driver of stronger CCPersuasion levels is a brand name which reinforces a product benefit.  While this may not be easily actionable for established brand names, it is obviously something a completely new brand can benefit from – and as the following chart shows, the benefit they receive from utilizing a meaningful brand name is substantial.  So invest in your name.

Blog 2017 03 31 FIG 005

Source:  MSW●ARS Analytical Database

4.  Avoid Gimmicks to Gain Attention:

There are certain attention-grabbing executional elements which tend to increase Related Recall levels while being neutral towards an ad’s persuasiveness.  However, data for two such elements that we looked at suggest employing such gimmicks for completely new brand advertising may often backfire.  So stay away from gimmicks and stick to your message.

Blog 2017 03 31 FIG 006

Source:  MSW●ARS Analytical Database

5.  Don’t be afraid to compare:

A completely new brand needs to find a way to convince consumers to choose it over what they currently use.  In pointing out how they are unique and different from the competition, such brands should not shy away from comparing and claiming superiority, as these approaches have a strong track record among completely new brands in terms of both CCPersuasion and Related Recall.  Just make sure you can back it up.

Blog 2017 03 31 FIG 007

Source:  MSW●ARS Analytical Database

Please contact your MSW●ARS representative for information on how our communications research tools can help your brand win in the marketplace.

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