The making of a television ad, Part 3: Testing

In last week’s installment, we explained how our ad agency translates a strategy into campaign concepts. This week we look at how research is used to identify ideas that resonate best with both consumers and REALTORS® and to optimize scripts using their feedback.

Once the REALTORS® on CREA’s National Ad Campaign Committee (NACC) have selected several ad concepts to move into testing, development begins on a rough, animated version of each TV script called an “animatic.” Animatics are high-end illustrations accompanied by a voice recording used to give research participants the experience of watching an ad without the expense of actually producing a full television ad.

For our 2015 campaign, research consisted of a series of one-on-one interviews with consumers and REALTORS® in Calgary and Toronto last November. The interviews were conducted by experts from a specialized research firm. Neither CREA nor our ad agency, Union Creative, were involved in the design or execution of the research to remove any bias. In a typical interview, the participant watches each animatic and then discusses its main messages, how easy the story is to understand, which ad they preferred, as well as anything else–good or bad–that stands out to them.

Throughout the research for our 2015 campaign, one concept–similar to 2014’s “RAID”–was consistently stronger than the rest. As usually happens, research also helped us identify where we could make tweaks and changes to help the ad perform as strongly as possible by:

  • Conveying our single-minded message: “Real estate shouldn’t be a gamble”;
  • Demonstrating the value of a REALTOR® by showing, possibly hyperbolically, the potential pitfalls of not using one; and
  • Engaging and entertaining viewers in an original way to keep them invested in the ad for the entire 30 or 60 seconds.

The feedback from the research was presented to CREA and Union and together adjustments were made to the winning concept. Four months after creative development began, teams from CREA and Union started down the path to producing the commercial.

Come back next week to learn how a script makes the transition from the written page to the screen and the months of intensive work in between.

As the former Executive Vice-President of Reputation, Randall McCauley helped shape the face of CREA and REALTORS® to the public and the media. Prior to joining CREA, Randall had a colourful career in politics with experience on Parliament Hill working with several Cabinet Ministers and a Prime Minister. He has also overseen Canadian government relations for a pharmaceutical company and was a founding Vice President of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). When not at work, Randall is a former personal trainer who is almost getting old enough to golf but has a few more years of kiteboarding left before he even looks at a set of clubs.


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