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The emergence of a new Arab father figure in advertising – Part 2

Saudi Arabia: Sunday, October 24 - 2004 @ 13:37

Advertising being a creative art rather than a science depends on qualitative insights to diagnose quantitative scores.

Respondents had not really mentioned any spontaneous negative comments in response to the ad concept. This is a typical problem encountered in this region. Arab respondents are polite by nature and do not criticize slight faults or weaknesses – they only point out something that offends their sensitivities. The search was then on for what was not said within the positive comments rather than what was mentioned as dislikes.

Analysing ‘share of spontaneous comments’ revealed something interesting – an overemphasis on the product visuals. Yet consumers were meant to be involved by the emotional content of the ad i.e. the family scenes. The intended positioning was essentially emotional, so it meant that the 2:1 bias of ad content recall in the product’s favour had to be properly balanced. Actually the product visuals were so impactful that they were acting as a distraction from the voiceover.

One recommendation therefore was to enhance the emotional content of the ad. We knew from our Arab As Consumer program that nowadays many consumers look for emotional ties with their brands. They are no longer satisfied with mere rational product benefits – in fact these are taken for granted from well established brands.

Segment analysis produced another insight – females were responding more positively than males. Though this was observed in previous studies, the differences in this ad test were greater. There could be two reasons for this:

• the category was not of high interest to males and, therefore, they paid low attention to the ad or

• there was a creative fault with the ad that alienated males.

Further analysis honed into the main problem – casting scores were especially low amongst males. In fact, this factor showed one of the highest differences between the genders.

Males were not so happy with the people shown in the ad. In fact, male viewers could not always truly identify with the father figure in the ad. They wanted more involvement from him, to be an inherent part of the story and of the family.

Our Arab As Consumer program points to the emergence of a new, modern father – one unafraid of showing care and affection for his family in public and at home.

He aspires to spend more time with his children – take them for picnics, play football or even help them in their homework. For many such a father’s role completes the modern, happy, well knit Saudi family, and lends more aspirational appeal – even for mothers. So, the second recommendation was – greater footage for the father, incorporate him in the main story, say, playing with his children.

The ad agency took this on board and the ad was suitably modified and launched in early 2003. We were able to diagnose on-air recall and performance of the ad through follow up research. The new ad generated the highest cut through rates in the category, had near perfect branding, a healthy balance of product and emotional visuals, and was on par with the brand leader’s ad on liking.

And guess which element had one of the highest recalls – the presence of the father. 77% of respondents recalled him. This ‘caring father’ role was critical to the new ad’s success as a key differentiating factor from all the competitive ads in the category.

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Sunday, October 24- 2004 @ 13:37 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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