Traditional measures of advertising effectiveness such as ad recognition, ad recall, ad liking, message take-away,1 brand awareness, brand image, and purchase intention confuse many advertisers.The question often posed is: What do these all mean? Which one should I use? Do they really indicate how effective my advertising is? This chapter and the next focus on these mental measures. I look at what they mean, relate them to measures of purchase behavior and put them clearly into the modern perspective of how our memories work.
Mental measures are essentially diagnostic. They help with the problem of sorting out what is going on underneath the observed purchasing behavior. When there are changes in sales or market share they help us in sorting out what changes are due to what causes. How much is due to the advertising and how much to other things that happened at the same time (such as promotion, pricing, competitors' actions, etc)? Advertisers want to know more than just whether their ad worked or not. They need to know how and why it worked. If it didn't work they want to know why, in order to avoid the same mistakes next time.
Let me make it as clear as possible that I firmly believe some form of purchase behavior measurement is crucial whether this be sales, market share, scanner data or self-report. Mental measures won't substitute for these measures of purchase behavior. But measuring purchase behavior by itself cannot provide the necessary diagnostic ability to know what is happening with them unless they are combined with mental-response measures. Mental-response measures in providing this diagnostic ability don't substitute for behavior-change measures; they complement them. They help sort out what is causing what. They provide understanding of how and why the ad works or doesn't work.