Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

By William D. Wells | Go to book overview

12
The Effects of Program Context on Advertising Effectiveness

V. Carter Broach University of Delaware

Thomas J. Page, Jr. Michigan State University

R. Dale Wilson Michigan State University

Since the early 1970s, much research has been conducted on the effectiveness of television advertising messages. In the vast majority of studies, this research has centered on the measurement of the effectiveness of a single commercial. However, in the real world of television advertising, commercials are run in groups, or pods. The possibility that a commercial's position within the pod may influence its overall effectiveness has received very little attention in the literature.

Not only are commercials shown in a pod, but the pod is embedded in a program. Programs are likely to have an impact on the way viewers react to commercials, and this response may influence effectiveness. Numerous studies (e.g., Goldberg & Gorn, 1987; Kamins, Marks, & Skinner, 1991) have examined the effect of programs on commercials. However, as pointed out by Mundorf, Zillman, and Drew ( 1991), the theoretical rationales for these studies have been diverse and the findings have been inconsistent. Thus, additional research that addresses some of the issues dealing with the impact of program context could expand our understanding of advertising effectiveness.

One area neglected in the literature is context effects within the pod of commercials. This area is relevant not only from a conceptual perspective, but also from a practitioner's standpoint because, as noted by Aaker, Stayman, and Hagerty ( 1986), some advertisers buy entire blocks of commercial time. As a result, they are able to control the placement of commercials within the pod.

The objective of the research reported here is to examine the effects of program context on viewers' immediate response to commercials. Immediate responses are important because they serve as important antecedents of longerterm effects and because they offer practical insights for the placement of commercials in television programs.

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