Google created a fake pizza brand to test out creative strategies for YouTube ads

Google’s Unskippable Labs team has been testing ad effectiveness in a compelling new way: It created a fake pizza brand called Doctor Fork, used stock footage to create 33 ads and then served them up on YouTube and reached 20 million impressions.

Ben Jones, creative director at Unskippable Labs, explained that there are certain axioms among advertisers that are never really put to the test. For example: “You can’t show somebody chewing food and looking at the camera.”

If everyone sees this as an obvious “third rail,” then no one puts it in their ads, so there’s no testing to see if chewing and looking at the camera is really a problem. By creating a fake pizza brand, Jones said his team suddenly had “a very different kind of freedom to be wrong.”

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