Non-rational advertising effects in relation to theory and practice

Author: Tony Twyman


In this short contribution it has been necessary to state theoretical arguments briefly rather than argue them out as fully as would be possible. The main contention is that if we are going to assess advertisements, then the complexity of advertising theory ought to make us use a black box, 'anything-can-happen' approach. It is possible to go on from such an approach and consider how advertising has worked and examples have been given. If we can find cases where the attitude change model is appropriate it can be used very effectively, which makes attitude work worthwhile . It is suggested, however, that to assess all advertisements in terms of a rational attitude model is unprofitable, inappropriate to the kind of learning involved in many market/media situations, and unfair to advertisement creators , who intuitively may have hit upon a better way of communicating. Whilst, it is argued that assessment should be on such a 'black box' basis, it is also valuable to be able to provide some indications to creators of advertisements as to how their advertisement was working, since it is only by such a feedback process that communication skills can be acquired and reinforced .

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