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Creative Benchmarking

National newspapers have just taken an important step forward in their efforts to make themselves more accountable to advertisers, writes Maureen Duffy.

By Maureen Duffy

Creative Benchmarking, developed with Kantar Media, will give advertisers a robust and rigorous tool to judge the effectiveness of their advertising.

They will be able to measure whether their latest ad is more effective than their last campaign, and how it matches up to their competitors. And they will be able to judge their newspaper ads alongside their TV ads.

This is an important initiative for newspapers because we believe that transparency is very much in our interests.

Through rigorous published research, including in-market advertising effectiveness tests, the Newspaper Marketing Agency (NMA) has gone a long way towards demolishing the old myth that national newspapers is purely a tactical medium.

Many advertisers have realised that they can build on the close emotional bond between newspapers and their readers to create advertising that powerfully fulfils a brand-building role, as well as generating response.

But getting the best out of newspapers requires that advertisers get the creative right for the medium. And that is by no means easy.

The NMA, through its research, has encouraged the development of top-class newspaper creative, and celebrates the best in the Awards for National Newspapers.

Creative Benchmarking is the next stage in the process of helping advertisers to produce creative that works best to meet their objectives.

The new system is built on Kantar’s Media's TV creative benchmarking system, so it uses measures that already command wide respect.

Each ad in the Creative Benchmarking database will be scored by 100 consumers on TNS’s Motivated/Involved measure.

Great newspaper advertising creates involvement with the reader and motivates them to feel closer to the brand and/or to buy or to find out more.

To be involved, consumers must like the ad and find it relevant. To be motivated, consumers must first be involved, and agree that the ad makes them have an improved interest in and opinion of the brand.

Alongside the new Motivated/Involved metric, each ads is scored against a range of metrics, to help advertisers towards a deeper understanding of the ad's performance.

The other questions asked about an ad involve whether the branding is clear, whether it stops the reader turning the page, whether it makes the reader feel closer to the brand, whether it gets them to think differently about the brand, whether it gives enough information and/or a reason to go out and buy and, where appropriate, whether it links to the brand's TV advertising and whether it makes an issue or cause more relevant.

The Creative Benchmarking database will be the UK's biggest database of consumer responses to national newspaper advertising.

Creative Benchmarking will allow advertisers to evaluate the performance of their TV and newspaper advertising in a similar way. It offers cost-effective testing of multiple ads (just £2000 for four), showing advertisers which of their ads have worked hardest for the brand – and whether competitors’ ads have worked better.