Psychological Processes and Advertising Effects: Theory, Research, and Applications

By Linda F. Alwitt; Andrew A. Mitchell | Go to book overview

6
The Relationship Between Advertising Recall and Persuasion: An Experimental Investigation

Ann E. Beattiee Columbia University

Andrew A. Mitchell University of Toronto


INTRODUCTION

One of the most prevalent methods for measuring advertising effectiveness is the use of advertising recall measures. In television advertising, for instance, the "day after" recall test is frequently used to determine the effectiveness of a particular commercial. With this method, a test commercial is run in a particular market and twenty-four hours later a random sample of consumers are called on the telephone. First, it is determined whether or not the respondent was watching the appropriate channel when the test commercial was on the air. After this has been verified, unaided and aided probes are used to determine whether the respondent remembered seeing the test commercial and what, if anything, he or she remembers about the commercial. The resulting recall score is then used as a measure of advertising effectiveness and what is recalled from the commercial is frequently used for diagnostic purposes. Many firms have a specific percentage recall base score that a commercial must exceed to be judged effective.

The use of recall as a measure of advertising effectiveness raises the critical issue of what recall actually measures. In one sense, we would like to be able to demonstrate, either theoretically or empirically, a direct link between recall and persuasion. However, published industry and academic research (reviewed in this chapter) indicates that, in general, such a link does not appear to exist. Alternatively, recall may measure one link in a causal chain between the opportunity to view an advertisement in a medium and being persuaded. One frequently mentioned hypothesis is that recall measures attention to and possibly comprehension of a commercial in traditional models of the persuasion process (Fig. 6.1). According to this hypothesis, attention to an advertisement doesn't guarantee persuasion, although all persuasive advertisements require attention. The correlation between attention and recall, how

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