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Designing and Implementing an Effective Tobacco Counter-Marketing Campaign

In more sophisticated theater-style pretests,

participants answer questions by using auto- mated audience-response systems. They are given a small device with response keys that they push when a question is asked. The data are automatically tabulated, giving you instant access to the numbers. Questions can be instantly added or deleted from the question- naire on the basis of the previous responses. However, an automated system is much more costly to use than a standard paper-and-pencil questionnaire.

Table 3.4 shows the estimated costs of a theater- style pretest conducted with 100 participants.

Pretesting Other Media

Theater-style pretesting also can be used to assess video presentations, such as a 10- to

15-minute video on smoking cessation that will be shown in a clinic. You should have participants view a series of videos that includes yours. Participants evaluate the videos the same way they evaluate ads, but these sessions last longer than ad pretests.

If you’re using print ads, try a variation of the theater-style pretest. In this method, several ads, including yours, are inserted into a magazine. Participants are asked to read an article with the ads interspersed and are given enough time to finish the article. Then they complete a questionnaire designed to gauge their reactions to the article and ads, as well as a section containing questions focusing on the ads. Finall , your ad is displayed alone, and participants respond to several more questions.

Using a Mix of Research Methods

The World Health Organization and CDC worked with an agency to develop several advertising concepts to encourage smokers to try to quit with help. The likelihood of successful smoking cessation increases greatly if the smoker takes advantage of help (e.g., counseling, a “quitline,” written materials, physician’s advice, and pharmacological products). The concepts were shared with smokers in one-on-one interviews, and one ad concept was selected for production. The ad was produced, but before it was

recommended to countries to air, it was pretested through a central location intercept method.

This research showed that the number of respondents who preferred calling a quitline was nearly equal to the number who preferred visiting a Web site for help in quitting. It was decided that when possible, both a toll-free phone number and a Web site should be provided on the tag at the end of the ad.

In addition, although smokers understood the message well, they didn’t believe it was forceful enough.

Because the audio presentation was a “voiceover” and the wording could be changed inexpensively before finishing the ad, the agency made the wording more direct and also selected a different actor who had a more confident voice.

Chapter 3: Gaining and Using Target Audience Insights


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