Ace Metrix http://www.acemetrix.com Tue, 31 May 2016 23:01:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.acemetrix.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/cropped-new_ace_logo-32x32.png Ace Metrix http://www.acemetrix.com 32 32 PAC Attack: Are the Latest Donald Trump Attack Ads from Pro-Clinton Funds Working? http://www.acemetrix.com/insights/blog/pac-attack-are-the-latest-donald-trump-attack-ads-from-pro-clinton-funds-working/ http://www.acemetrix.com/insights/blog/pac-attack-are-the-latest-donald-trump-attack-ads-from-pro-clinton-funds-working/#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 17:48:03 +0000 http://www.acemetrix.com/?p=25867 With all eyes moving to the general election for Campaign ’16, big budgets are being directed to specific voter groups that might make or break final results. The Republican National Committee just announced an unprecedented $150 million reserve of video ad inventory to target Hispanics, Women, Millennials, and Independent voters in swing states. This came […]

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With all eyes moving to the general election for Campaign ’16, big budgets are being directed to specific voter groups that might make or break final results. The Republican National Committee just announced an unprecedented $150 million reserve of video ad inventory to target Hispanics, Women, Millennials, and Independent voters in swing states. This came on the heels of the pro-Clinton Priorities USA Super PAC announcement that it had reserved $35 million in digital ad inventory to reach many of the same voting groups. We took an early look at the first of these to hit the airwaves, which represent some of the first negative ads from the pro-Clinton camp, to gauge how key voter groups are responding. 

Speak,” an attack ad that mimics the highly effective Our Principals PAC “Quotes” (first airing in March), showcases everyday people mouthing the words of Trump’s quotes along with recordings of the candidate’s actual voice. The copycat ad replicates the production approach of “Quotes,” utilizing only a stark white background and the characters themselves.

Respect” begins with a clip of Trump stating that “nobody respects women more than Donald Trump,” and then features newsreel coverage of Trump making controversial statements about women and issues important to women, such as abortion.

So, did these ads work? Well, the answer depends on the objective. They both garnered Attention, which is critical in today’s distraction intense, user-controlled digital environment.

Overall, “Speak” resonated strongest among 36-49 year-olds across gender and party affiliation. “Respect” found moderate success among Independent Millennial women and Hispanics. The ad under-performed among all Independents, all Women, and all Millennials.

So they succeeded a little bit. Maybe that’s a small victory, but there is much room for improvement.

While some pundits conjecture that undecided voters might be more open to messaging from outside, supposedly less biased sources such as PACs, these new messages from Priorities USA failed to open many ears. Smear campaigns are particularly risky among Independent voters by their very nature. These are voters who have not aligned with a political party presumably because they desire to make decisions based on candidate plans, and stances on issues important to them. Viewer verbatims indicate that some voters distrust unknown sources of information and assume negative information presented is biased or taken out of context, tuning out such messages.

Perhaps the objective of these newer anti-Trump ads is to simply remind people of their distaste for Trump…negative ads do often get high ratings from voters expressing strong distaste for the smeared candidate, but these voters don’t need convincing.

However, this does lead to the question as to whether media buys targeted to voters that are so clearly anti-Trump already, might be better spent with positive messaging and more pronounced call to action. The highly effective “Quotes” did that, with a call to “vote against Donald Trump.” This simple reminder to vote for anyone other than the anti-subject was a step in the right direction toward effectiveness.

Whatever the campaign objective, testing and optimization would be beneficial, especially when the stakes and the spends are so high.

Let’s look at how each ad performed.

“Speak”

  • “Speak” successfully made voters in all targeted voter groups stop and watch, posting above norm Attention scores among Independents (667), females (711), Hispanics (767), and Millennials aged 18-35 (678).
  • However, “Speak” was unable to beat norm performance across any of these voter contingents, with its best performance (just at norm) among females.
    • The ad missed all other norm thresholds, by 16 points (Independents), 24 points (Hispanics), and 34 points (Millennials).
  • When asked, “How does this ad change the likelihood that you will vote for this candidate?” voter responses showed moderate Impact across the spectrum (Impact score of of 38 vs. a “no influence” score of 50, among swing voters, females, and Millennials). Attack ads often see Impact scores well below 50 as a reflection of their negative influence on viewers.
  • Among swing voters, “Speak” saw weakness in its Watchability, Relevance, and Agreement scores.
    • In particular, a low Relevance score (494 vs Independent norm of 533) could be indicative that the copycat ad might have lost some of its punch due to the fact that it is not the first to deliver these messages about Trump.
  • Although clearly produced with an eye toward convincing women to vote against Trump, “Speak,” while rated higher by females relative to males, was unable to beat norm performance (479) among women, with a female Ace Score of 482.
    • “Speak” was well-received, however, by women aged 36-49 (Ace 549).
    • In fact, “Speak” showed its best performance among 36-49 year-old swing voters, both male and female (each with an Ace Score of 492 vs. Independent norm of 460).
  • While “Speak” saw some success (Ace Score 519 vs norm 482) among 36-49 year olds (across gender and party affiliation), the ad underperformed among millennials, particularly in Relevance and Credibility.
    • With an Ace Score of 590 among 18-35 year-old Independents (vs 440 for “Speak”), the minute-long “Quotes” delivered a more salient message to Millennials, perhaps by virtue of being the first.

“Respect”

  • “Respect” successfully grabbed the attention of all targeted voter groups, posting above norm Attention scores among Independents (650), females (680), Hispanics (777), and Millennials aged 18-35 (668).
  • “Respect, however, also failed to impress across these broad voting groups, posting at or below norm performance among all but Hispanic voters.
    • Ace Score deficits for “Respect” were largest among Independents (34 points below norm), followed by females (-16 points), and Millennials (-6 points).
  • With Impact scores ranging from 36-41 across these voting contingencies, “Respect” was only moderately effective at impacting voter intentions.
    • This ad saw its strongest impact among females (Impact: 36) and Millennials (36).
  • Among swing voters in aggregate, “Respect” underperformed vs. norm on nearly all performance measures, including Watchability, Agreement, and Relevance.
  • Across all female voters, “Respect” again posted slightly below norm performance on all performance measures, with its largest gap to norm in Agreement (520 vs female norm of 549).
    • The spot (Ace Score 479) failed to meet norm performance among Millennial females (505) in aggregate (regardless of party affiliation)
    • In fact, “Respect” performance was at or below norm across all female age groups.
    • Female verbatims show somewhat higher levels of frustration with quotes being replayed out of context.
  • “Respect” did offer something to younger viewers, with Millennials (aged 18-35) rating the ad above norm on Agreement, Relevance, and Learning (in addition to Attention).
    • Viewer verbatims reflect a stronger distaste and lack of understanding or patience for Donald Trump relative to older voters (aged 50+).
  • “Respect” did see success among Independent, Millennial females. With an Ace score of 579 among 18-35 year-old women (and 495 among 36-49 year-old women), the ad spoke most effectively to this group (Norm 460) relative to other swing voters.
    • For perspective, “Quotes” posted even stronger (and well above-norm) performance across all swing voters other than 50+.
  • “Respect” also found success among Hispanic voters as well (note that testing on Spanish language ads was not conducted for this report).
    • Anti-Trump ads tend to perform quite well among Democratic voting groups in general.

 

 

 

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