Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

By William D. Wells | Go to book overview

Comments on Chapters 1 Through 10

William D. Wells University of Minnesota

In the first section of this volume, authors and discussants stressed differences between academic and applied approaches to measuring advertising's diverse effects. They emphasized conceptual and operational distinctions, and they analyzed disagreements as to the meanings of success. The chapters that followed took a somewhat different tack. They suggested that academic and applied researchers learn useful lessons when they cross paths.

For instance, preattentive processing, the priming effect, and the "truth effect" -- all mainly of "academic" interest -- have potentially important practical implications, as practitioners' comments on those topics point out. Transferring those topics from academic laboratories to more realistic environments is a highly desirable next step.

Chapters 6 and 7 show that transfer process at work. Haugtvedt and Priester's chapter reviews (largely) academic research on cognitive processing of persuasive messages with special reference to conditions that render persuasion-based attitudes predictive of behavior and resistant to attack. Crimmins' chapter transfers those findings to real evaluations of real ads.

In addition to verifying many of the distinctions between central and peripheral processing, chapter 7 says, "Now wait a minute, there's something else. Beyond central and peripheral processing, a meaningful difference between self-conscious and unself-conscious processing deserves further thought and careful work." If academic researchers pay attention to the implications of that observation, they are likely to improve the validity of whatever they do next.

Chapters 8, 9, and 10 continue to demonstrate the contributions of reiterated feedback. Chapter 8 provides real-world support for many of the academic conceptualizations reviewed in earlier chapters, and it presents two critical distinctions: the distinction between package goods on one hand and durables and services on the other, and distinctions among brand, call-to-action and feel-good effects. Both observations seem likely to change the outcomes of all thought-listing research.

Chapter 9 documents important differences between instrumental and social identity products; and, in its exposition of the circle-a-thought technique, demonstrates a methodological refinement that can simplify and enhance

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