Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

By William D. Wells | Go to book overview

Comments on Chapter 12

Christine Wright-Isak Young & Rubicam, Advertising


PRACTICAL RELEVANCE OF THIS RESEARCH

The strengths of Broach, Page, and Wilson's work lie in the systematic effort they have made to call attention to the importance of identifying ways in which programming can enhance or diminish the impact of advertising. Their findings are directly relevant to two important aspects of the advertising process, namely the development of creative and the effective placement of that creative so it can do its work best. They focus on the emotional character of both ads and programs -- which are the elements that keep people watching. Their subject is important because the intersection of program and ad has not been explored at all adequately. They are attempting to determine factors that define optimal positioning in pods, which is something client and agency managers would love to know.

Too often in evaluating advertising we fail to take into account the environment in which it must deliver its message. Chapter 12 focuses on television commercials and their unique 15 or 30 seconds of contact with viewers. However, consumers do not view advertising in the analytical way research scholars or business managers do. For those of us in academia, isolating effects and attributing their impact free of other variables is important and it is how we instinctively think about testing the effects of a commercial. For industry managers, knowing whether or not the creative we commissioned was the best use of the advertising budget and that our media placement was the most efficient possible are the most important issues that preoccupy us in judging its effectiveness.

For the consumer, however, ads are simply alternative and additional sets of stimuli that they watch on TV between attending to the story or sports event or news exposition that constitutes the program choice. In these days of VCRs and increased surfing of the channels offered by cable networks, the programs themselves are hard pressed to keep viewers watching. Advertising has an ever more difficult job to do to hold viewer interest in a very brief period of time. Some advertisers try to capture viewer attention by scheduling their messages as roadblocks. This is the practice of placing the same ad in the same time slot on all three main networks so that viewers cannot easily avoid being exposed to it. Additional strategies to hold viewer attention and increase the impact of advertising in today's different media environment are strongly desired by practitioners.

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