Choosing between different advertising approaches

Choosing between different advertising approaches
June 27, 2017 PCP Market Research

Choosing between different advertising approaches

The challenge

We were commissioned by an automotive purchasing and wholesale company. The company has been a heavy advertiser on television for many years. They wished to consider the effectiveness of a number of alternative creative routes.


  • To consider the perceived advantages and disadvantages of different methods of selling a car
  • To understand how the current service offered by the client was viewed by customers and potential customers
  • To assess awareness and attitudes towards the company’s current advertising
  • To consider which, if any, of four alternative advertising approaches would make an effective campaign.

Our approach

Little research had been undertaken by the company before. It was therefore difficult to anticipate in advance what issues were likely to be raised by customers. For this reason we recommended running focus groups. The ‘brainstorming’ approach of a focus group allows people to in depth discussions. This often leads to lead to insights which are beyond the scope of quantitative research such as an online survey.

We ran four focus groups. Two were held in the North of England, and two in the South. All the participants had purchased a car in the last six months or planned to do so in the next six months. Two groups were held with female respondents only, two with male respondents only.

We identified occasions when each of the alternative methods of selling a car would be appropriate. We then asked the focus group to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the company’s current operations.


Some general themes emerged as points to stress when advertising the company’s services. We also passed on suggestions as to how the services could be improved.

Of the four advertising approaches considered, two showed the most promise. We also put forward ideas as to make the messages even more effective than any of those discussed. A recommendation was left with the client that this new approach was worthy of serious consideration.

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