The ARF David Ogilvy Research Awards-No Longer Just Ad Campaign Awards
One of the most prestigious awards an advertiser can receive is the David Ogilvy Award. The award is given by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) in honor of researcher-turned-adman David Ogilvy, whose own work always stressed the role of research in developing, evaluating, and improving advertising. To win an Ogilvy Award, the candidate must demonstrate how research was used in developing a program and show marketing success. Awards are given in three areas—(l) services, (2) durables, and (3) packaged goods—and an overall grand-prize winner is announced. Judges come from academia, advertising agencies, companies, and research firms.This year's winners included:
• Grand Winner: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation— "The Covering Kids Campaign."In 1997 the federal government allocated money to each state to offer health coverage to children in low-income families. Unfortunately, much of this money went unused. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation used its own monies to determine why this was the case, as well as to develop a campaign to communicate to parents. The foundation worked with Wirthlin Worldwide, a marketing research company, to determine the motivations, or lack of motivations, for taking advantage of this opportunity. The research demonstrated that financial aid and emotional issues were involved and that while low-income families were concerned with insuring their children, there was a lack of knowledge of the
program as well as a number of misperceptions regarding qualifications. In addition, semantics mattered, as many families felt that "insurance" was synonymous with high cost and that if it was free, it was a "handout."
Based on this research, the advertising agency of Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns and Associates developed a "values approach" in which ad messages stated "You could be eligible" and funneled callers directly into the program.The campaign included TV,outdoor, radio, and print ads differentiated for various ethnic groups. An Internet site was also included, as was a toll-free number to call for more assistance.
The results reflected the value of the research, as 8 out of every 10 persons who called the national hotline did so after seeing a Covering Kids ad,and the number of calls doubled during the time the ad campaign ran. Calls to regional toll-free numbers increased by as much as 745 percent!
• Distinguished Finalist: United States Navy— "An URL in Every Port."Joining the armed services is not an easy decision.The U.S. Navy had found that its competition included colleges, trade schools, the workforce, and other branches of military services. To compete successfully, the Navy felt that it had to conduct research into the motivations and attitudes of high school students—its primary target audience. Working with advertising agency Campbell-Ewald,the Navy created an extensive research portfolio that included interviews with Navy personnel, recruiters, and decision influencers such as parents and teachers. Focus groups, brand metaphor exercises,and a quantitative survey of teens were all used to explore the values and attitudes of teens. The resulting psychographic profile showed that "Adventurers" (active, fun-oriented outdoor types),"Vocationalists" (concerned about the future and looking for vocational skills to improve their job prospects),and "Independent Skill Seekers" (uncertain about their future, looking for vocational and leadership skills) were most likely to be interested in joining the Navy. However, few of the Generation Y audience knew much,if anything,about the Navy beyond what they had seen in movies. The agency and the Navy knew they had to put something together to assist in the decision process.
A limited budget meant that a wide use of traditional advertising media like TV was impractical. Rather, a "Life Accelerator" web-based program was designed to present the Navy in a nonthreatening environment as well as one in which teenagers were comfortable (teens are online 50 percent more than adults).The website was supported by an economical media plan designed to drive traffic to the site. Radio (95 percent of teens listen 10 or more hours a week) and other Internet venues received a lot of the resources. TV was used in a more traditional sense— e.g., MTV as well as a direct-response medium to generate leads to be followed up on by Navy personnel.
In the first few months of the campaign, the Life Accelerator had more than 200 million hits, which were in turn referred to recruitment tables. Potential prospects spent 50 percent more time at the site and viewed more pages, and recruitment offices reported an increase in candidates who came in with Life Accelerator pages in hand. Overall, 225,318 leads were generated, 13 percent above the goal. The goal of 53,000 enlistments was easily achieved.
Not all of the Ogilvy Awards are for services or nonprofits (in the chapter we will discuss some winners in the other categories), and not all of the winners employ the same research methods or media strategies. All do, however, use research to guide their strategies, as well as to measure its effectiveness.
What is really interesting is that the Ogilvy Awards, started decades ago as an advertising award in which the ad campaign was based on research, have now become much broader in scope.The above two examples demonstrate that the award is really now more of an IMC award, with an emphasis on the overall campaign— whether or not advertising is a major component.
Sources: "2002 ARF David Ogilvy Research Award Winners," www.arfsite.org, Nov.4, 2002; "The 2002 ARF David Ogilvy Research Awards," Journal of Advertising Research, July-August 2002 (special section).
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