Consumer Reports Launches First Ad Campaign Highlighting How It Keeps Companies Honest

The organization wants customers to know it’s as relevant as ever

Consumer Reports' first ad showcases the brand's commitment to reviewing everyday items. Consumer Reports
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Consumer Reports wants people to know it’s still “bringing the fine print into focus” on everyday purchases. The brand that’s been reviewing products for consumers since 1936 has debuted an ad campaign to freshen up its image and reach new customers. In an age when people might turn to the first review they pull up on Google, Consumer Reports wants you to know its approach to the process is unique.

“The whole way we approach testing is different than any other review or rating site because we do comparative testing and we buy all the products we test—we get it exactly the way the consumer gets it,” said Leonora Wiener, svp of brand and strategy at Consumer Reports. “Businesses soup things up for the press but we go to great lengths to make sure we’re getting what everyone else does.”

The company released a spot with BBH called “Let’s Keep It Honest,” which will air on digital and social media, to highlight the way it brings information to the surface that is not immediately apparent with products. The ad spotlights the journey of asterisks, a character associated with fine print that may not be visible on a cursory glance.

In addition to sending secret shoppers in to purchase products for review, the company has more than 60 labs where it tests not only a product immediately after purchase, but over the long term, Wiener explained. The nonprofit also surveys consumers throughout the year to determine a product’s durability over time.

The company has spent the last three years working to transform the brand into one that shows up “where consumers are and how they consume content,” said Wiener. This process included giving its rating system a makeover–the company had been using red to signify ‘excellent,’ while it tends to mean ‘danger’ elsewhere—and making the whole platform more digital and mobile-friendly.

“Everyone uses their phones for everything, so we knew we had to convert,” Wiener said.

An important part of the rebranding has also been clarifying that Consumer Reports is not just for automotive reviews—it extends to everyday products like apple juice and sunscreen and even review apps to make sure consumers are getting the full picture with where they store their data and expect privacy.

“We are a nonprofit, mission-driven organization and we have a deep purpose that audiences connect with when they know it, but we weren’t being loud enough before,” said Wiener.

When the brand detects a problem with a product, it contacts the manufacturer to express its concerns, which happened recently when Consumer Reports reported Tesla’s Model 3 had safety issues that needed to be addressed. While it brought renewed interest to the platform, Consumer Reports wants people to know that sort of interaction is the organization’s very bread and butter.


@AlissaFleck Alissa Fleck is a New York City-based reporter, podcast producer and contributor to Adweek.
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