Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

By William D. Wells | Go to book overview
Comparative advertising has long been of interest to advertising practitioners and academic researchers alike. Despite a great deal of research on the subject, there is little agreement regarding the effectiveness of this advertising technique ( Barry, 1993; Donthu, 1992; Rogers & Williams, 1989). Viewing this issue from the perspective of the Wyer-Srull model provided unique insights into the process by which comparative advertising works, and suggested methods to ensure its effectiveness (e.g., always end a direct comparative ad with salient restatement of the sponsor brand).Examining the processes underlying interference effects within the Wyer-Srull model also highlighted the existence of task interference (our Proposition 6). This form of interference recognizes that the performance of one task often interferes with the performance of another. Despite the prevalence of multitask situations in the environment in which advertising operates, this form of interference was found to be an area largely untouched by advertising researchers. When designing ads, advertisers need to consider the complexity of the tasks likely to accompany ad exposure. For example, people generally perform some other task while listening to the radio (e.g., driving, working), which suggests that ads placed on the radio need to be relatively easy to process (i.e., not require a complex set of procedures). In contrast, people are much less inclined to perform other tasks while reading a magazine and thus, ads requiring complex processing are much more likely to be effective when placed in that medium.
APPENDIX: WYER-SRULL POSTULATES

Structure and Function of Work Space
A1a The work space is of limited capacity.
A2 The displacement of information from the work space may be either automatic or volitional.
A3 Under conditions of high information-processing load, the material that has been least recently involved in the processing (either as input to a processing unit or as output from a unit) is most likely to be displaced from the work space.
A4 When the work space is cleared, any material that has not been transmitted to a bin in permanent storage is irretrievably lost.

Structure and Content of Permanent Storage
B1 The permanent storage unit consists of a set of content-addressable storage bins. Each bin is identified by a header that defines and circumscribes its contents.
____________________
a
Postulates in the Wyer-Srull model have been renumbered in the present context for ease of exposition. From: Wyer R. S., Jr., & Stull T. K. ( 1986). "Human cognition in its social context". Psychogical Review, 93( 3), 322-359.

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