Every great campaign starts with an insight – an insight that tells a story about your target consumer.

But the way to find that revealing insight is changing.

In the world of market research, surveys are more valuable than ever because they’re ethical, they’re reliable and they allow you to go deeper. In marketing, they can be used for everything from fueling big campaign ideas, to measuring their success.

They tell you who your audience is, what they want, where they spend their time and what tactics work best to reach them. This is knowledge that spells the difference between guesswork and data-driven marketing.

Here are seven brilliant campaigns that prove the power of survey data.

1. Ogilvy – Change the Facts, Not the Fro

The insight

1 in 5 black women feel social pressure to straighten their hair for work.

The campaign

For many of us, hair is a representation of who we are and what culture we belong to. Despite this, a significant portion of black women feel pressure to change their natural hair to “fit in.”

Having uncovered shocking statistics through the 2016 Good Hair study, the research also revealed 78% of people instinctively prefer smooth hair, highlighting a serious need for change in the way female beauty and power is represented in the media.

This important campaign urged people to think about how this kind of social pressure affects people in their everyday lives, aiming to “change the facts, not the fro.”

Pushing the message via DOOH, social, PR and online, using relevant hashtags like #WorldAfroDay and #Changethefacts, people were encouraged to join the movement and spread the word further. The resulting campaign shone a light on those suffering in silence, encouraging a much needed shift in mindset.

2. Tobacco Free Florida – The Reasons

The insight

In Florida’s rural communities, smoking rates are 33% higher than the rest of the state.

The campaign

By now, most smokers are well aware of the dangers posed by cigarettes – so it’s not a lack of awareness that makes smoking continue to be widespread.

Through several research studies, this locally-focused campaign uncovered it’s most often working parents under financial stress who are the heaviest smokers, and they’re sick and tired of the hold that cigarettes have over them.

Using documentary-style ads featuring real people, one simple message prevails:

“There are many reasons to quit. What’s yours?”

Since Tobacco Free Florida began airing ads in 2010, the state’s youth cigarette smoking rate has been cut almost in half – from 8.3% in 2010 to 4.3% in 2014 among Floridians aged 13-17. It shows the true power of using insight to inform your campaigns, and ensure you’re reaching the right people, in the right way.

3. Ad Council – Seize the Awkward

The insight

50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and 75% start by age 24, and an estimated 76% of young adults turn to a peer in a time of crisis for support.

The campaign

In a collaboration with the Jed Foundation (JED), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Droga5, Ad Council cleverly uses awkward humor to connect with its target audience on a topic that matters to them.

Using the insights uncovered from survey research to shape the campaign targeting 16-24-year-olds, the team aimed to spread awareness around just how common mental health issues are, and how anyone can offer their close ones a shoulder to lean on.

Will Lowe, Creative Director at Droga5, said, “Hopefully, by encouraging young people to talk about how they feel, we can normalize conversations around mental health, and help them get the help they need before things get out of control.”

With a message aimed to encourage their target audience to seize awkward silences, rather than fear and avoid them, the campaign highlights how one seemingly small gesture can ultimately save lives.

4. Activia – It Starts Inside

The insight

80% of women in the U.S. aged between 25 and 55 agree that they are their own worst critic.

The campaign

This inspiring campaign, shaped by a custom survey run by GlobalWebIndex, set out to empower women to “achieve their full potential by overcoming their inner critic.”

Featuring candid interviews with real women sharing their self-doubt and determination to achieve their personal goals, the campaign video makes fantastic use of an authentic, consumer-centric approach where people are always the main focus.

And, while the campaign didn’t merely advertise its products, aligning the Activia brand with a social mission worked wonders. It helped to position the brand as more than just a CPG product, but a ‘platform to help women feel good inside and out’.

5. Alzheimer’s Society – United Against Dementia

The insight

A mere 22% of the UK population realise that dementia leads to death, with one third of people wrongly believing there’s a cure.

The campaign

Uncovering this insight through deep consumer research, the creative teams recognized the urgent need to educate people on the reality of the widespread disease.

The striking ad, pushed via TV, press and social media, had one key message:

“Forget about what sets us apart, because dementia doesn’t care.”

The campaign used creativity to raise awareness and spread a message of positivity, successfully educating the public about the reality of the deadly disease. A powerful example of marketing that works, this campaign shows just how a deep understanding of audience perceptions can drive meaningful creativity.

6. Ad Council – End Family Fire

The insight

8 kids a day are accidentally killed or injured by “family fire.”

The campaign

Aimed at preventing accidental shootings in the home, the originators of this eye-opening campaign found that more than 4.6 million kids live in homes with guns that are unlocked and loaded, and three out of four of them know where those guns are kept.

Having uncovered this distressing insight, the campaign worked to spread awareness of the issue and encourage a safer home environment for all children.

The core message relies on emotional responses from the audience, saying:

“There’s no more tragic a death than when it’s by someone you love.”

And rather than pointing the finger, the campaign made gun owners part of the conversation, urging them to make safety their number one priority.

This way, Ad Council succeeded in raising awareness around a key issue, urging people to think differently about gun ownership and violence in the home.

7. Always – Like a girl

The insight

At puberty, 50% of girls feel paralyzed by the fear of failure, with 80% of girls feeling that societal pressure to be perfect drives this fear.

The campaign

Having discovered that half of all girls in the UK fear failure, Always set out to create a movement and reverse the negativity.

Encouraging girls to embrace failure when it happens and to use it as a tool to build confidence, the message was a simple one:

“Keep going #LikeAGirl.”

The long-running campaign has seen many reiterations, but has continuously strived to portray failure as a life lesson, not a setback.

It’s a perfect example of a brand taking steps to understand their target audience completely through the power of survey data, and then focusing their marketing efforts on what they know is important to them, in an authentic way.

Getting started

Survey data holds a more important place in marketing than ever before, and it’s now even easier to get the impactful insights needed to shape a successful campaign.

With access to survey data that goes far beyond basic demographics, profiling motivations, attitudes and interests, brands are getting to know their audience on more intimate levels.

This is how a powerful data-driven message is formed – one that strikes a chord with the right people, giving you the reach and impact that’s needed to get real results.

You’ve read our blog, now see our platform

Every business has questions about its audiences, GWI has answers. Powered by consistent, global research, our platform is an on-demand window into their world.