Is Your Advertising Creative Working?

Author: Guy Smith, Vice President, Automotive Industry Business Development, Jay Advertising and Marketing Communications


Achieving above average MROI (Marketing Return on Investment) is that vexing and relentless goal facing automotive dealers. Said another way, dealers need to know where to put their precious marketing investments so that they yield a good pay-off in sales performance. Tightly linked to deciding on which tactical investments to deploy are decisions concerning the proportion or priority order in a dealership’s marketing plan.

Marketing Plan

Crafting an effective and efficient marketing plan depends on the context of the dealership’s local market position; specifically, the esteem and stature of its brand (i.e., its market “pull” factor) relative to other dealership brands and actual business performance measured against planned financial and operational metrics. Consequently, while it is impossible to give a universal prescriptive formula of specific initiatives and their proportions to implement, we should look hard at one of the vital few demand creation instruments – video-based advertising – in particular, the creative that will be utilized.


One of the reasons that many dealers have biased their marketing in favor of digital tactics is that buyers spend a lot of time on-line researching pre-sale and there are a few key metrics that support MROI measurement. So, it is a good place for a dealer to invest. One of the other reasons, however, is that there is more subjectivity in assessing video-based advertising, and what looks and feels good to dealership principals may not be effective. In fact, a good deal of Tier III creative does not work in today’s market.

What Works

For the last 40 years, we’ve been analyzing what video advertising works and what doesn’t as the market has been evolving and competition has been tightening. This nature of this post can’t judge a specific ad or ad category or tone, but what it can provide insight on how to feel more confident that your TV ads will work before you implement them. The answer involves viewer testing utilizing advanced technology.


These advancements involve a combination of human behavioral science and facial recognition software. This platform leverages half a century of emotional science research findings, one of the largest proprietary databases of facial reaction videos in the world, and cutting-edge analytics techniques to provide clients with the most advanced and most accurate facial analysis technology available. Viewers react with subtle facial expressions to every moment of every video they view in a test. Each of these expressions (however subtle) corresponds to a specific emotional state from which the software automatically and accurately identifies actionable insights. We can identify and track the level of viewer engagement, mood, memorability, and likeability moment by moment from the beginning to the end of the ad as viewers react to both the messaging and accompanying music. We know if the viewers will respond positively to what they eventually watch, or whether something needs to be changed to produce better results. It has proved to be 95% accurate in respect to the age of viewers, 90% accurate relative to gender, and 93% accurate averaged across all human emotions.

Effective Ads

With a tool like this, dealers can be more assured of the effectiveness of their video ads and other video-based content. Effective ads drive efficiencies in marketing spending, which in turn leads to a superior MROI. And that’s what it’s all about. Call JAY for a deeper dive into what it can do for you.

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