Online Mark-ups Highlight Ad Likes and Dislikes

The North Dakota University System (NDUS) hired the global communications company, Flint Group, to develop a new advertising campaign to promote its five community colleges. Before finalizing creative, Flint Group brought in Outsource Marketing to conduct online bulletin board focus groups to test the creative concepts with three audiences: high school students; parents of high school students; and adult learners. The bulletin boards incorporated a mark-up feature which enabled participants to highlight and make comments pertaining to their likes and dislikes of the different ads.

NDUS ads

After viewing and commenting on each ad separately, participants were asked to select the three ads they liked the most and the three ads they liked the least.

Qualboard top and bottom

More detailed responses were provided in response to the moderator’s posts on the bulletin board and for each individual ad.

Qualboard discussion

Individual ad markup





Green and Red Flags indicate positive and negative comments.






Click on to read more on how the findings from the bulletin board focus groups were applied to the development of the final ad campaign.