Advertising Research

Benchmarking New Ads for a Restaurant

Category: Quick Service Restaurant (QSR)
Methods: Quantitative Research, Advertising Research, Benchmarking

Advertising Research for Restaurants


A national quick service restaurant (QSR) chain regularly produced a number of television advertising campaigns that included 15- and 30-second finished ads. The client wanted to understand consumers’ attitudes about the advertisements in order to determine if the advertisements were up to the company’s standards and were communicating the intended messages and positioning.

Strategic Issues

The client received finished ads shortly before they were to air on television and needed feedback quickly in order to determine if the ads were of sufficient quality to be shown. They also received different executions of the same ad and wanted to know which version, if any, was superior to the others.

The client compared their ads’ scores on key metrics to a database of normative results. Ads that performed poorly were either pulled and revised or they were left completely out of the rotation.

Research Objectives

The primary objective of the research was to understand how the target audience perceived the ads. Specific objectives included the following:

  • Calculate an overall score for each ad tested and compare that to the client’s accepted benchmark
  • Identify key messages being communicated by the ads
  • Determine the areas in which the ads underperformed on key metrics
  • Understand what could be improved about the ads

Marketing Research Design and Methods

The quantitative ad testing was conducted online using a monadic approach. The survey instrument was created and tested in tandem with the client prior to use. Decision Analyst was able to take any number of executions and test them simultaneously for a given campaign.

The survey instrument was about 25 minutes in length, in order to obtain the necessary diagnostic information needed to calculate the key metrics. Proprietary algorithms determined the scores for key metrics and were compared to the growing database of the client’s own norms. Decision Analyst’s experienced client service team evaluated the results and provided the client with timely information about each execution and the campaign overall.


The client received timely feedback on each of their executions for a given campaign that allowed them to provide important direction to their agency partners. The ability to receive sound research results prior to a campaign’s launch allowed them to pull the underperforming executions and focus on the high-performing executions. The consistent reinforcement of successful advertising testing has helped the client gradually improve their advertising effectiveness over time.

Advertising Research Services

If you would like more information on Advertising Research, please contact Tom Allen, Senior Vice President, ( or Bonnie Janzen, President, ( at 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.