Free now: standing tall with the launch of its ad campaign


To combat shrinking ad spend during the pandemic, Savanta Media Manager Shaun Austin explains the essential package created to help industries regain balance and help marketers clearly demonstrate their advertising value.

The impact of the past 20 months has been devastating for many businesses, with the retail, hospitality and travel sectors hardest hit and having to shut down or change the services they offer.

Inevitably, spending on marketing and advertising was immediately reduced by many and limited to only essential expenses.

However, as we entered H2 2021, we saw ad spend rebound, with GroupM’s mid-year forecast predicting a 24% increase in the UK advertising market – a major improvement on previous forecasts from the start of the year. year. GroupM also recently pointed out that global ad spend in 2021 increased by 37.5%.

As advertising began to return in 2021, particularly following relatively difficult economic times where budgets were tight, there was a need to demonstrate the value of ad spend and the benefits businesses were seeing.

Amid budget pressures, market research spending was also at risk, with client demand for faster and cheaper insights for those who did not want a full-service approach.

At Savanta, we have introduced a suite of essential products to meet these needs.

Free now: Clarify campaign goals

In September 2020, Free Now relaunched its UK brand. As part of this relaunch, they ran a six-week campaign across TV, VOD, radio, print, outdoor (OOH), digital and social media. With a focus on London, the new campaign brought the brand promise (feel free, roam free) to life while communicating the unique service proposition of having black cabs and private hire vehicles together on a single ridesharing app for the first time. The final campaign featured a “50ft woman on roller skates”, who used the creative device of roller skates (one a black cab and the other a PHV) as a metaphor for freedom and control. offered by Free Now.

However, at the end of the campaign, there were questions about whether the campaign could have worked harder, whether the proposal was clearly understood, and whether the benefits were clear to the public. Therefore, before the second wave of activity, Free Now wanted to ensure that the creative was clear and compelling and would ultimately generate maximum return on investment.

Savanta was appointed ahead of the second wave of the campaign to help identify changes that needed to be made to the campaign so that Free Now’s creative and media agencies could adapt their strategies.

Our Essentials creative test was the perfect solution to quickly validate and understand creative, with the ability to test creatives, measure viewability, recall, message and brand clarity, as well as strength of engagement, persuasion and call to action. Crucial for Free Now was:

  • Validate whether the creative metaphor of the “15-meter woman on roller skates” was understood and deemed attractive

  • Understand the impact on consumer behavior

  • Explore the overall message and claim the benefits

We were able to identify key areas of weakness allowing Free Now to optimize creative ahead of the second wave of campaign activity. This included helping build brand visibility at the start of the ad and leveraging the benefits of key messages trying to get across to help them land more effectively.

Once the campaign was relaunched, the next step was to measure the impact of this second wave of activity using our Essentials campaign evaluation tool.

The results showed that the polished creative helped raise awareness of Free Now among their target audience. Brand love nearly doubled during the campaign, generating discussion and advocacy around the brand, improving competitive positioning on key metrics.

The reason we saw key positive improvements in the campaign was due to high levels of recall – two in five of the target audience had seen the campaign on TV, with the poster seen by a similar proportion. On top of that, the refined creation scored well for being “easy to understand”, “told me something new”, and “well branded” – statements that were a key part of the test research. creative.

Our Essentials product line offers pre-built quizzes with combined results in an easy-to-read dashboard, providing a summary of key metrics as well as a comprehensive set of data tables. The products are designed to provide a simple, inexpensive and high-value alternative to traditional research and knowledge. The same quality and rigor you’ve come to expect – simply hassle-free, fast and flexible. Learn more here.


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