Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

By William D. Wells | Go to book overview

6 Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Advertising Effectiveness: An Attitude Streneth Perspective

Curtis P. Haugtvedt Ohio State University

Joseph R. Priester Universily of Michigan

Consider a typical scenario in the development and pretesting of marketing communications. First, objectives are identified for a particular audience. Effort then focuses on creative executions that convey important arguments in favor of a product.1 To assess the effectiveness of an advertisement or persuasive message, attempts are made to measure influences on the memories, attitudes, and beliefs of audience members. The success of a communication is typically determined by its ability to produce changes in memory, attitudes, or beliefs of individuals exposed to it. That is, observations of changes in a positive (or desired) direction are seen as indicative of effectiveness.

In this chapter, we argue that advertisers and marketers might benefit by considering additional measures and methods to obtain a more complete picture of the effectiveness of their communications. In brief, we suggest that the creation, maintenance, or enhancement of strong attitudes constitutes an important component of what should be meant by the term advertising effectiveness. By strong attitudes, we mean attitudes that are relatively persistent over time, resistant to change in the face of attack, and more predictive of behavior. We first provide a brief overview of the theoretical foundations of our work and then focus on methodological issues relevant to basic researchers, advertising practitioners, and marketing managers interested in assessing the strength of attitudes formed or changed as a result of exposure to persuasive communications.

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1
These arguments can certainly be more than the typical cognitive or verbal arguments used in most academic research to date. For example, under the appropriate circumstances, anticipated or experienced affect can serve as an argument in support of a person, issue, or product. A brief discussion of this issue is presented at the end of this chapter.

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