Understanding how advertising works and implications for measurement of its effectiveness

Date of publication: May 1, 1995


The debate globally has centred recently on immediate sales effects (and Persuasion Shift pre testing) in preference to maintenance or theme advertising whose effects, we believe, are often seriously under-estimated. The paper first contrasts different advertising mechanisms, spanning a continuum from immediate to longer term effects. It is these delayed effects that are difficult to measure and therefore, often underestimated - yet which hold the key to long term brand profitability. These observations have profound implications for the expectations of the advertiser. We go on to explain the role of advertising as a multiplier in leveraging the influence of other elements of the marketing mix. Given that delayed effects do exist, triggered by actual experience of the brand, ad associations need to be lodged in long term memory. This leads us onto a discussion of the critical role of creativity in advertising. We then discuss the implications both in pre-testing and especially, in evaluating on-air effectiveness of advertising. The paper concludes with an illustration of some of our observations from the Brazilian yellow fats market. If the full continuum of advertising effects is not appreciated, the pressure for hard sell advertising with immediate results will become ever greater. Tools are now available for enhanced decision making founded upon a real appreciation of how advertising works for individual brands in individual markets.

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