Food for Thought: Talking About Taste in Advertising

According to Health World,, memories can actually affect taste. Recalling a positive memory about eating a certain food can make a present experience more enjoyable. Since advertisers build memories around their brands (what we call “branded memories”), demonstrating a product’s tastiness is an important component to any food and beverage advertising. But is it enough to just communicate good taste?

We looked at how various claims to taste were measured and found that purchase intent and consumption operate independently as they relate to taste claims. To build a strategy around taste, brand advertising may need a two-pronged approach – one to get a foot in the door and another to keep the consumer coming back for more. Does your brand need to grow by introducing new consumers or by tapping further into your current brand fans?Identify where your brand life cycle is in regards to advertising intent then, take note of the tips below.


Adam Page is an Associate Research and Analytics Director at Ameritest. 
For more information, email


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5 Common Advertising Mistakes To Avoid In 2016

Growth comes from reflecting on and analyzing both success and failure. As we flip the calendar to a new year, we thought it would be helpful to share the five most common advertising mistakes that we’ve seen in the CPG category in hopes that we can all avoid these potential traps in 2016.

1. Psst. I have some news.

In the CPG category, communicating news about your brand or products is a prime opportunity to differentiate, grab attention and motivate viewers to take another look. In fact, we have observed that news is strongly correlated to purchase intent. However, we often see that advertisers bury the news in tiny supers or tags on screen. When you have news to convey, shout it from the rooftops!Make sure that viewers know that there’s a reason to take another look at your brand, and clearly communicate what’s new.

2. Tread lightly with comparisons.

In this category it is very common to see comparative advertising such as a side-by-side demo of paper towels, or toilet paper. While these ads can be highly effective, some paint the competitor in such a negative light that it becomes unbelievable or worse – offensive. Take the DirecTV Rob Lowe campaign. How would you feel about being likened to Scrawny-Arms Rob Lowe? Be careful not to alienate the very audience you are trying to attract. Instead, look for ways to show your brand’s superiority without insulting competitors’ customers.

3. In a battle between puppies and logos, who wins?

A recent ad for puppy food ended with a scene that included a logo on screen, a tagline and a cute puppy that came skidding in, clumsily crashing into its food dish. If you had to guess, where do you think most people’s attention was focused — the logo, tagline or the puppy? First, our brains are hard-wired to pay attention to movement. Secondly, who can resist a cute puppy? The logo and tagline never stood a chance. The lesson? When branding is the goal of a scene, simplicity is key. Avoid cluttered branding frames and elements that could siphon attention away from your brand.

4. More isn’t always better.

Al Ries, co-author of Positioning, hit the nail on the head when he said, “It’s difficult enough to link one concept with each product. It’s almost impossible with two or three or more concepts.” Yet, we commonly see the kitchen sink approach when it comes to brand communication. Advertisers try to squeeze as much messaging as possible into an ad to get the most bang for their buck. However, this often backfires, and viewers walk away confused, or tune out the message altogether. Strive for a single-minded message. But remember that single-minded doesn’t necessarily mean simplistic. Clear messaging can also mean a connected series of ideas.

5. Advertising without brand linkage is simply entertainment.

The day after the Super Bowl is one of our favorite times of year. We all love to hear which ads people enjoyed. But, when we ask people which brand their favorite ad was created for, we’re usually met with a blank stare. That’s because a very common misstep is advertising that is highly entertaining, but does not tie back to the brand. The strongest ads that we see not only grab attention, but also leave behind a meaningful branded memory.

Avoiding these five common missteps should help you create a straighter path to your advertising success. We wish you nothing but the best in your advertising endeavors this year.

Jessica Sanchez is a Research Director at Ameritest. For more information, e-mail us at

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The ‘Second Battleground’ To Drive Brand Growth

Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different. Michael Porter

Just about every brand marketer talks about winning the battle at shelf. But there is another battleground that is too often ignored. Many brands may be much better served by focusing more on winning what I refer to as “the second battleground,” that is driving frequency of use to shorten the brand’s purchase cycle.

This second battle occurs every day in the home or purse or car. People choose whether they want to use the product or not. Which frozen meal will I make? Should I clean the bathroom? Will I be consistent about taking my fish oil? Which breath freshener will I use?

What happens when a consumer buys a product, but then never uses it? It may just be forgotten, relegated to the back of the pantry or it ceases to be an important part of the consumer’s life. Choices that happen every day away from the retailer can have a dramatic effect on brand sales by shortening or extending the brand purchase cycle.

According to research done by GrowthSpeed Partners, focusing on driving frequency of use can lead to significant sales gains: by shortening the overall purchase cycle from 77 to 72 days brands can see a usage lift of 6% or more.

Too many marketers either assume that a good piece of brand communication (an ad, their packaging etc.) can do both: drive sales at shelf and usage at home, or they don’t really think about the second war at all. The truth is, there is no perfect formula for doing both. However, there are scarcely studied approaches to each goal—specifically in advertising.

If we look at how the brain controls purchase behavior, its clear that it is memory that influences purchase behavior—that is, memory created by past brand experiences, including advertising. Therefore, triggering the right memories becomes crucial.

A simplified way to do this is to identify which memory system of the brain plays the biggest role in “storing” memories that help the decision-making process of purchasing the product in the first place vs. using it more frequently post purchase.

Triggering Product Trial

The semantic memory system stores conceptual, rational news/ideas such as pricing information, reasons to believe around new flavors, colors, statistics, etc. We can call this the conceptual memory system. This is the memory system to target with the goal of driving product trial. This ad from Kellogg Nutri-Grain should be full of all of the factual information about the product to drive that first purchase.

Triggering Usage Frequency

The procedural memory system is grounded by the five senses. Advertising that showcases taste, smell, the way the product feels, the way the packaging sounds when opening it, the crunch of a chip, even a place the brand lives, reminds and motivates consumers to keep using the product. Nestlé KitKat has been specifically speaking to this memory system since 1937 with its “break” advertising strategy, commonly known as physicalmemories.

While any given ad can obviously deposit memories in both memory systems, the emphasis of each approach is best when customized by business objective: trial or usage frequency.

The Memory System That Triggers Both

The third memory system, the episodic, should play a strong role regardless of objective. This is the social memory system because it taps into emotion to store autobiographical events that have to do with relationships—both with others as well as the relationship with the self. Marketing techniques like word-of-mouth, testimonials, product reviews and the use of social media are successful because of their interaction with the social memory system. The still-memorable “I’m a Mac” ad campaign is a great example of tapping into the social memory system based on stereotypes. This campaign essentially served two purposes: 1) To get PC users to switch to Apple (trial); and 2) To get Apple users to love the brand even more (frequency).

If you are searching for a way to grow your brand, there may be a battle that you can start winning right away – by focusing on driving brand usage and shortening the purchase cycle. It is a strategic choice you may want to consider.

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ChefSteps Visits Albuquerque

We were fortunate enough to have Grant Cilly of ChefSteps visit us in Albuquerque.

It’s worth a minute (or a few hours) to visit the ChefSteps website. They make the process of cooking and the finished product look and feel like art, but in a way that is accessible and doable even for the most novice chef. And the best part…it’s Free!

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What Your Real-time Metrics Aren’t Telling You: 4 Reasons to Test Your Digital Content.


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Ameritest Tips for Marketing to Millenials


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