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MT Rainey’S claSSic TexTS
48
TeSTing To deSTRucTion
How Alan Hedges defined advertising research
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i also revisited a wealth of perennial
Testing to Destruction by alan Hedges.
ponderables from more local heroes,
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including Jeremy Bullmore, Stephen King and
inTRoduced By MT Rainey
Wendy gordon, as well as popular recent
it has been a great pleasure rediscovering
texts from the likes of adam Morgan, Mark
many of the wonderful articles, essays
earls and others.
and speeches that are treasured away in
as a planner, and later an agency owner,
the Admap archives for this assignment.
my perspective and preoccupation here has
For delicious echoes of the Mad Men
been to highlight the thinking and research
era and some prescient thinking, i can
that influenced and helped me in the complex
recommend the speeches, as well as the
and highly politicised process of doing the
ads, of Bill Bernbach, William Marstellar
right thing with advertising.
and david ogilvy.
insights that we now take for granted
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exceRpT FRoM cHapTeR 6: ‘WHaT iS adveRTiSing ReSeaRcH?’
Without doubt, planning is the The first of these ingredients “Brand loyalty is fairly high.
most important stage at which is sometimes called the target We believe that the market
research can contribute to the group. There is still a tendency divides between those who are
whole advertising process. The to define target groups like this: especially concerned with per­
most brilliant advertising exec­ “The advertising will be aimed formance characteristic a, and are
ution will be of little value if the at younger c2de women who prepared to spend a little extra
advertising is trying to say the are already users of the product to get it; and those to whom this
wrong kinds of thing to the wrong category.” it would be much more is a dispensable luxury and who
kinds of people. illuminating and useful if we could would rather make economies.
in consumer marketing, we produce something more like the our brand, in view of its history
are only in a position to make following (admittedly hypothetical) and characteristics, is to appeal to
sound judgements about adver­ target group definition for the former group. These people
tising strategy if we have good our (equally hypothetical and have all the above characteris­
knowledge of the way people deliberately oversimplified) tics, generally in more extreme
think, feel and behave in relation household project: measure. They are also likely to
to products like ours. The better “users of this type of product read specialist articles about using
our understanding of the market, tend to be younger women from the product, and to make an active
the better our chance of devising c2de backgrounds. Typically, they attempt to learn from advertising
and adopting an effective strategy. are married, with larger than aver­ about the properties of the differ­
The kind of information you age families. a high proportion of ent brands.”
really need depends on: what you them work full or part time, and
already know about the market; they are conscious of having little
what sort of market it is; the time to spare for household tasks.
competitive state of play; and what The family makes heavy demands
sort of company you are. on the living space, which is gener­
When you are satisfied that ally limited.
you know (or have made reason­ “users tend to be particularly
able assumptions) about this sort conscientious in their care of
of matter, you can make a position­ the home. generally short of
ing statement that will define the money, they nevertheless spend
way you see your brand fitting quite heavily on products of this
into the market, and the sort of type in order to make up for the
role you think it best to develop fact that they do not have the time
it to play. There are two essential to keep the home as they would
ingredients if the statement is to like. They typically take a lot of
provide a useful basis for develop­ time in the choice of brands, and
ing advertising: 1) who the adver­ real differences between the dif­
tising is to be aimed at; and 2) how ferent brands available are thought
it is intended to affect them. to exist.
admap February 2010
ADM Feb 48-49 MTRainey's classic txt.indd 1 1/22/2010 16:00:39
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