Street interviews to test ads can be testing

Developing advertising is always a challenge. Getting feedback using street interviews can help refine the message and the images. It can also test the effectiveness of different media sites.

We recently worked with a media planning and development consultancy. We used street interviews  to test some ‘billboard’ ads for a major travel service. The campaign targeted  major transport sites in London. It  involved interviewing on station platforms and concourses as well as on the street near key stations. It was also important to cover the peak morning and afternoon and evening commuter times.

We helped design a classic Pre and Post questionnaire. The Pre questionnaire covered topics and features which would appear in the ads. It gave the agency a clear picture of the baseline awareness of the service and its key benefits.

The agency gave a clear brief of their target audience and a detailed quota for the Pre survey. The specification meant that street interviewing was the only realistic way of meeting quota. As well as key demographics a quota was set for recent travel patterns  for both business and leisure.

We also had a strict deadline to adhere to for the fieldwork. We had to complete the Pre survey in time to allow ‘tweaks’ to be made to the ad campaign. There was also a deadline was the bookings made for the ad space. Obviously all the Pre survey work had to be out of the field before any of the ads broke.

The Post survey was designed to measure the impact of the ads in various locations. The ads were displayed on escalators, large electronic billboard and traditional poster sites. Interviewing took place in or near all the locations, another key reason to use street interviews.

We needed to match the quota achieved in the Pre survey. With the the data from both surveys we could  properly compare and analyse against the Post survey data.

It was a fascinating test of the effectiveness of current poster advertising. This is important in the current ‘eyes to screen’ travelling mode adopted by many commuters. And it was traditional market research street interviews which provided the solution.

The data provided quality feedback to the ad agency and to their client.It has enabled them to plan their major promotional campaign with confidence.