Examples of creative testing ads in Africa

delvv.io takes a look at creative ad testing in Africa on some of the biggest local brands

One of the hardest regions to get quality feedback and results on creative campaign testing is Africa. While most research houses have some presence in South Africa, exploring the 50+ other countries on the continent has posed a problem to the marketing, advertising and creative industry.


Even with an established market like South Africa, studies show that there is room for improvement when it comes to advertising effectiveness and relevancy. Shockingly, up to 58% of the media budget is found to be wasted in South Africa.


As part of our partnership with the amazing media and marketing publication MarkLives, our co-founder Remon has chosen 4 ads from South Africa to test and get feedback on whether they would be able to carry the same effectiveness in various African countries.

We used our panel of creative professionals using our Sense Check testing and methodologies to get feedback from Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya (some of the bigger consumer markets in Africa). Our approach is to be highly constructive, and not bash or benchmark creative work (like some copy testing approaches are accused of doing). Check out the articles below as we explore themes of humour, storytelling, snarkiness and other creative elements that do and don’t transfer well across African territories.


Functional vs Emotional benefits - testing an Insurance TV Advertisement in Nigeria and Ghana


Remon takes a look at Investec’s well regarded (and highly emotive) Promaths campaign to see if the narrative storyline and main characters would have as emotional of an impact in other countries.


The storytelling is quite remarkable as it runs deep with many South Africans wanting to achieve a degree or diploma that helps them to achieve a better life coming from a background that may be far from ideal for any rising star.


But you many be wondering. So, does the same theme of hardship-to-success run true across borders?


And it does...!


But with a surprising transition from what most professionals revealed about the negative emotions about the ad initially, to more positive feelings of ambition and succeeding beyond wishful thinking.

Here are the attributes and associations of the ad from the creative professional's perspective:


For most, there’s something telling about the ad. It’s the emotional appeal to your ability to transcend the circumstances you find yourself in that makes it so strong..


It was an ad that in turn made the number 4 spot in the #Adsoftheyear South Africa’s best ads of 2016  

The feedback received on the ad also expanded on the brand positioning within the ad. With such emotive storytelling, could you ever fail to recall the brand itself? You might agree with the general consensus in the article; Africa on Investec’s extraordinary Promaths ad


Creative testing a Fast Food Retail Commercial


Are there campaign concepts and product messaging which translate across cultures that provide media efficiencies, or should all ads be created from scratch?


That is the question Remon explores in this article about Chicken Licken’s Great Dlamini campaign.


There may be some brands that find themselves delivering global ad campaigns (one message) to all  markets, only to get analysis after the ad has run, the messaging was weak because it didn’t resonate with the respective locals.


A lack of access to quality information across borders could prompt some agencies to rather play it safe and stick to the proven ad style that has always worked. Perhaps that’s a good idea, but not necessarily in Africa...

Nonetheless, we went to find out which parts of the creativity in KFC’s ‘The Great Dlamini’ did well with countries; Nigeria and Kenya.


We quickly realised that its effectiveness in South Africa wasn’t just some Great Act in itself. But the brand was able, with its creative drive, to receive positive feedback from the creative panel.


The art direction and copy were superb; though it might surprise you that in Nigeria, the magic behind a show isn’t really a common thing, Nigerians aren’t as familiar with magic shows and thus this angle is slightly less effective.


There was very interesting recommended media choices including the differences between radio and digital. Finally, the panel shared thoughts from both Kenyans and Nigerians on the Talkability factor. Check out the article


Testing Creative Attributes and Associations

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Remon looks at how creatives from Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria perceive the mischievous South African TVC from Dairymaid and their creative agency House of Brave.


We took to tasking our creatives, marketing and advertising pros to provide 3 attributes and words that resonate with this ad.


And the top three were: Irresistible, Delicious and Indulge.

When you think about it, these might have you thinking of chocolate, which surprisingly turns out to be completely fine with Country Fresh because they have associated words of cravings that they humbly believe, need to be indulged with their product.


Across Africa there are deeply ingrained cultural values, and among them are the values of respect and truth. Which, compared to the contrary notions of 'deceit' and 'greed' highlighted by some of the professionals, wasn't entirely a positive outlook for the ad.


However, there were a lot of positives as well. One of them being a state of nostalgia.




The use of the children reminded them of those playful days they had with their own siblings during childhood.


There were some negative words that if you had to take a look at, you might find some surprising. The gap in perceived authenticity between Ghana and Kenya was rather large, yet the casting and characters factor- on point!


Here’s the article for you to indulge in Article Here



Media Recommendations - Gill’s Cheeky Ad

2755280_1484300879Gill shampoo ad worth the 'washing'.png

How well does humor translate to other cultures. Remon investigates Gill’s cheeky hair worth 'washing' ad.


One of the things that was loved about this ad was the strong demeanor of the main actor as he portrays the ‘no-nonsense’ attitude, the sophisticated setting and the seriousness behind the message he’s trying to get across.


But...what was strong in Nigeria wasn’t necessarily strong in Kenya.


Though what we found was that in Kenya because of the booming hair and beauty industry, you would expect the ad to be more relatable...


One of the things the panel recommended was using a 360 campaign in their respective countries with Nigeria being hesitant it would work in print. Read up further on the article here



All of these articles using methodologies from our Sense Check product, which focuses on attaining constructive creative feedback at early stages of campaign development. However, the results were very abbreviated and formatted to make for easier reading at MarkLives.

Are there any campaigns you’d like to see us test in other African markets? Let Remon know at Remon {at} delvv {dot} io