Measuring Validity in Ad Campaign Effectiveness

Measuring the validity of anything in life is a common task. Religion, debates among politicians, school work, and a myriad of other situations often require some form of validity. However, just taking the word of another person on the accuracy and validity of information is never enough. Some tool or process must be put to use in order to better verify the validity of something.

Communication research and content analysis also requires the same process of verifying the accuracy of results. If I were to create a hypothetical evaluation research proposal, two separate advertisement, or ad, campaign evaluations would need to be assessed.

The first is an evaluation done on the impact and effectiveness of Nike ads on young women. The second will be a comparison between child and adult advertisements for fast food restaurants, specifically McDonald’s.

I have chosen to do a hypothetical ad campaign evaluation for Charmin, given the climate of our world and the issue we had with toilet paper at the begin of the pandemic.

Nike is a well-known company that provides clothing, shoes, and other sports related apparel throughout the world. Many different ad campaigns have been provided for Nike over the years, but one that always drew great attention was their messages for young women. Three particular commercials from Nike in regards to women and sports were critically evaluated.

Shelley Lucas, a PhD in cultural studies of sport, describes Nike as, “an active participant in current cultural conversations about girls’ and women’s participation in sport.” She goes on to explain that Nike attempts to provide a message of empowerment for women, which she believes will also help them live out fuller, healthier, and longer lives. However, she concludes that these commercials actually inhibit women from actually living out these fantasies, and that this form of empowerment can only be found through the homilies of the commercials.

I selected this evaluation for several reasons. First, it was done through a peer-reviewed search via the University of Phoenix online library, thus is it peer-reviewed and academically sound. Second, the author is a PhD in cultural studies, and she writes many articles on media, discourse analysis, and women’s sports. Finally, the referenced material throughout the article stems from other peer-reviewed journal articles and statistical data provided through other content analyses.

 Unfortunately, the majority of this evaluation was done from a qualitative standpoint. Lucas mostly uses reactions from a biased female perspective to assess the effectiveness of the three commercials. Lucas argues, “that Nike structures girls’ entrance into sport in such a way as to disempower them.” Throughout the article, the author never truly provides a statistical number regarding the sales and profits after these advertisements were released. Instead, the author speaks to the demeanor of empowerment that Nike allegedly professes. Lucas attempts to break apart the overlying message by saying it is laced with a bias towards a “man’s world”, and that the cause-related marketing may work in certain situations, but without a strong cause, no reason exists for this type of campaign.

Lucas does a good job of analyzing the reasoning behind the messages. Rather than focusing on the actual response to the campaign, she instead focuses on the message, and why she believes it does or does not work. This approach can be effective because it analyzes the actual content itself rather than the proposed responses. Conversely, if the responses are not measured, the ulterior message of the content cannot be truly analyzed to full effect.

McDonald’s is easily one of the more renowned fast food restaurants in the world. Commercials for this restaurant have existed for many years with celebrities and catchy slogans. McDonald’s has always been a forefront choice for adults and children, and their advertisement campaigns are no different.

Fast food campaign advertisements tend to focus on children’s attention equally, if not more, than adults. Rather than taking a single campaign, this report evaluates a different aspect of the commercials in relation to its target audience. Even though the effectiveness of these ads is examined in terms of the sales and profits, the type of advertisement is put on better display here.

I chose this evaluation via a peer-reviewed search in the University of Phoenix library. The multitude of authors all have high level degrees and areas of interest in medicine, sociology, psychology, behavioral science, and media analysis. Cited references throughout the article come from textbooks, journal articles, and academic materials. The article was written with no competing interests and seeks to further analyze the intricacies of fast food marketing.

Qualitative and quantitative methods can be seen throughout the article. First, the authors used samples from all of the nationally televised commercials between 2009 and 2010. Second, they completed content coding of video, audio, toys handed out in Happy Meals, movie product placement, and images of food. Third, the articles discuss the effect of the content based on where the advertisement played, as well as the actual statistical data of the commercials. Finally, even though some of the authors have a predetermined bias by working in a health field, the research was done objectively by using content coding, statistical data, and raw numbers instead of opinions.

Strengths can be found throughout all of the methods used in this evaluation. Using content analysis, the report clarifies each variable within the analysis, and also explains why that variable was chosen. Rather than just interpreting the messages conveyed in the advertisements, the authors sought out the actual advertisements, watched them, and provided quantitative data directly from the ads. Even though a qualitative approach was used when examining the commercial’s use of certain foods or songs, raw data was used to help facilitate a concrete meaning to their hypothesis.

Charmin, a company focused on toiletries and other necessities, is well-known throughout the United States. Commercials for this brand tend to be focused around the use of small animated bears. However, Charmin recently released an ad campaign with the slogan, “We all go, why not enjoy the go?” that uses catchy songs as its focal point. These new commercials have a more risqué message with explicit lyrics relating to bowel movements, wiping, and toilet humor. Some marketers believe these songs are an outstanding marketing technique as Charmin seems to have stepped outside its normal style of marketing and become more modernized.

According to that article, these commercials have been released on YouTube, iTunes radio, and other internet listening platforms. This means that the target audience is anybody that uses that internet that also uses toiletries. With this in mind, this type of advertisement will probably yield decent views and publicity. Putting an advertisement before a YouTube video that cannot be skipped is a common practice to keep YouTube free of charge. Given the billions and billions of views on YouTube, this advertisement will likely be seen by plenty. Since the advertisements use modern music blended from rap, hip hop and R&B, there is a strong chance the catchy songs will be noticed well among audiences, especially younger viewers.

Certain measurements display a more prominent liking for this kind of evaluation. Using construct validity about Charmin commercials would prove helpful if examining the likelihood of somebody already using the product continuing to use it. Criterion validity focuses on the relationship between two separate constructs. This campaign is one construct, thus this type of measurement would not work. Content validity is perfect for this type of evaluation because the consumer’s opinions, as well as the raw number of sales, helps pinpoint the effectiveness of the ads.

 For this evaluation, using content validity via Likert based questions will be used. The questions of the survey will be highly specific and catered towards the aspect of effectiveness. The people taking the survey will be acquired in a couple of ways. A list of criteria will be made for the volunteers of the survey.

First, the person must be at least eighteen years of age. Second, the person must not use the Charmin brand of toilet paper. Third, the person must purchase toilet paper for either himself or others. Finally, the person has to agree to having spent time on the Internet on a regular basis.

For this part of the research, a mix of convenience and volunteer sampling will be used. I am looking for a specific set of rules for the person taking the survey, but I do not want the survey to be mandatory. There will also be some purposive sampling because I am clearly seeking a reason behind that set of specific rules. The Likert questions will follow a set of the current commercials being run by Charmin. These questions will help indicate how likely the person will purchase Charmin products after viewing these ads. The problem therein is that there is no way to verify the accuracy of the answers given to the previous questions of whether each person uses Charmin or buys his or her own toilet paper.

The size of the sampling pool was calculated using a tool provided in the by Calculator.net. According to Calculator.net, I should be using approximately 1,068 samples. I used a confidence of only eighty percent due to the fact that any findings can be backed up by actual statistical sales, but lacks the true verification of the survey field. Without being able to determine the accuracy of the survey answers, no true assessment can really stand without more evidence. I used the second part of the calculator to calculate my confidence interval, and at a low three percent, the final tally came out to 1,068 samples.

Since the main campaign is being run on the internet, it only seems fair to send out the survey via the same. Several platforms exist for this type of survey. I can use social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter to advertise the survey. I can also place the survey at the beginning or the end of the advertisements on YouTube. Either way, having to set a specific criteria to the takers of the survey severely limits my ability to control the samples via the internet. However, even though the limitations stand, the internet is still the best way to get the necessary samples.

Likert based questions provide a very cut and dry source of answers. Since there are a limited number of answers available, using a data chart with categories is the easiest way to portray the information found from the survey. There is no need to categorize the demographics of the samples, but there does need to be a category for the percentages of each answer.

Checking the reliability of these measures can be checked by accessing the revenue numbers of Charmin before and after the commercials aired. Even though these numbers will represent the overall sales rather than just a small sample size, it still adds validity to the answers given by the takers of the survey. Unfortunately, this is why the confidence level of the survey was lower than average. Regardless of the accuracy between the actual sales and the answers of the survey, the inherent lack of confirmation of the credentials provided by each sample makes for a less than perfect assessment of effectiveness. However, this survey helps give a generalized picture of the ad campaign’s consumer effectiveness.

After being put into a categorized chart of percentages, the answers to the survey can be generalized to a target population by providing the sales numbers to Charmin as well as news outlets and internet sites. Given that the commercials are aired on the internet, the evaluation should be provided as such. Charmin could then take the revenue numbers, as well as the response from the samples, and use them whole as a stepping stone towards either more of the same or a change in strategy.

When preparing an evaluation report for the effectiveness of ad campaigns, several factors must be calculated. A Nike advertisement evaluation from a qualitative standpoint argues that the message found therein lacks the necessary components to truly capture the attention and appropriate minds of young women. Examining McDonald’s advertisements from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective, a group of authors were able to find the correlation between the sales of children’s meals and the number of times the ads were catered towards children. Successfully preparing an evaluation report for Charmin advertisements requires more than just conducting a survey of predetermined samples. Definitive strengths and weaknesses outline the measures taken in this report. Without a better screening process, using simple Likert based questions without more content analysis lacks the substance to provide a true and valid evaluation. More steps exist that could better analyze the effectiveness of Charmin ads, although the previously listed steps are an adequate start.

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