Ad Testing Helped a National Auto Company to Create More Effective Ad campaigns


Recently, Clarocision Research & Marketing ( was contracted by a large Advertising Agency to conduct a series of focus groups for an international automobile company. The company needed to first know how consumers perceived their brand and furthermore to see how to better position themselves through advertisements to generate more sales. The automobile company had been using a series of TV Ads, which made use of a fast pace-catchy jingle and a fast-talking sales person. The Ad’s message highlighted a “zero down” offer to consumers.


A series of four focus groups were conducted in the United States - two in the Fort Lauderdale area and two in Miami, with consumers from 25-64 years old. The objectives of the study were the following: determine which TV commercial motivated the audience most, determine which offers and car features were more enticing to consumers and to assess consumer perception of competing brands.

Among the most impactful findings were the following. Most consumers perceived advertisement in general as a means to get them thinking about a certain category or a specific brand. However, this only worked if people were already on the lookout for a certain product or already had a perceived need for that product.  It was also discovered that the best form of advertisement was still personal referrals. This meant companies can be better served if they choose marketing strategies that increased referral services. 

It was also discovered that there was a high level of apprehension when it came to consumers believing the claims of advertisements. This had implications for the amount of features to include in an advertisement and the particular pricing strategy used by advertisers.  Most respondents considered the ads from dealerships as extremely deceiving to the audience. There was the perception that these types of businesses only want to make a sale regardless of the needs of the consumer. Most of the consumers did not believe the message of getting a good deal but were much more open to hearing about the features of the vehicle. 


The findings in the research allowed the company to refocus their advertisement efforts to be more targeted to specific demographic and psychographic features of the intended audience. They saw the need to do research to determine people’s needs and preferences before developing advertisements. They also embraced the fact that once initial designs are done it was helpful to concept test them with specific targets to make sure the message resonates. This allowed time to tweak the Advertisement if needed.  From these findings the client was able to redesign their advertisements. The redesigned TV ads that were aired within a couple months of the study, featured much of the qualities the consumers desired, slower paced jingle, and highlighted the features of the vehicle and a more relaxed sales person and no mention of the “zero down offer”.

These ads were much more effective in keeping with what the respondents suggested would be more appealing to them. 

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