Utilizing Innovative Research to Enhance the Power of Communication

January 29, 2004

This case study details how Combe used an innovative system to enhance consumer communications.  This session demonstrated how insights about human beings and their response to communications helped Combe significantly enhance the power of their commercials.  Combe's brands are better known than the company: Just for Men, Lanacane, Cepacol, Vagisil, Odor Eaters, Grecian Formula, Aqua Velva and more.  PhaseOne helps corporations make smarter communications decisions and improve the bottom line.

At its core, the PhaseOne System is a warehouse of knowledge about human beings and how they respond to communications.  They suggest logical opportunities for improvement in consumer communications.

  • PhaseOne is an advertising consultancy that is well versed in advertising theory
  • They do not conduct primary consumer research nor can they tell you if your strategy is motivating
  • Each execution is "deconstructed" into communication building blocks; there are 297 building blocks that impact advertising
  • The executions are then "mapped" into a framework of how communication accomplishes specific jobs
  • Elements that enhance/detract from memorability, persuasion, and likeability
  • Delivers findings in 7-10 days

Combe used PhaseOne to determine why ads weren't scoring well.  After their very logical advice was taken, the ads were redone and persuasion and recall improved dramatically.  Some of the findings: 

  • They identified the primary opportunity, which involves a man getting a promotion, and suggested that the ad avoids the direct suggestion that this man received his promotion because he colored his hair with Just For Men
  • By describing the emotional benefit that the man received from the product (confidence) and that the emotional benefit lead to his promotion, the commercial would likely avoid an over-promise by the product, as well as avoid a potential turn-off
  • It may be desirable to include something in the opening premise that provides a stronger role for the brand's rejuvenation strategy; Within the rejuvenation product story, avoid introducing new ideas
  • Ensure that the chronology of the story is clear and easy to follow

"Just for Men PhaseOne Experience." Randy Berkowitz, VP, Market Research, Combe; Laura Misdom, Vice President & Director of Business Development, PhaseOne; and, Terry Villines, SVP, Director of Analysis, PhaseOne. ANA Advertising Research Committee, 01/29/04.