Friday, February 22, 2008

(Un)funny because it’s true

Advertising focus groups, in general, suck. Sure, they can be helpful for gaining a better understanding of your target audience and developing strategy, but they’re awful for testing creative.

And yet tons of people who work in the biz could relate to you a personal story where 20 people earning $75 for sitting in a drab room drinking soda and eating Peanut M&M’s for two hours on a Tuesday evening destroyed thousands of dollars of perfectly good work (or made crucial decisions the client couldn’t or wouldn’t bring herself to make).

I believe that great (or even good) work rarely performs well in creative testing. Good creative is usually too challenging, and most consumers are ill equipped to discuss the ins and outs of creative work in a meaningful way.

And so it’s not uncommon, when forced to subject work to consumer testing, to hear a writer or art director (or myself) complain that even a spot like Apple’s "1984"—arguably the best and/or most famous commercial in history—wouldn’t have survived the process.

To prove this point, it seems some folks over at Arnold re-created an animatic (or “board-o-matic”) of "1984"—with a new ending that introduces a fake Apple product—and conducted creative testing focus groups with it. None of the participants seem to recognize the spot, so I think it’s safe to say their responses are genuine.

The resulting video won the Documentary/Personal Essay category at the recent OneScreen film festival.

Watch it here. And weep.

1 comment:

Ben said...

this is exactly why i start every project with the following idea: chimp breaking out in a solo dance move while wearing product logo on his/her shirt.

it's all downhill from there.