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Measuring Affective Advertising: Implications of Low Attention Processing on Recall

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This article is about affective advertising, defined as that which works more on our emotions and feelings than on our knowledge and beliefs. This sort of advertising can be processed effectively at relatively low levels of attention and as a result does not always perform well on recall measures. We compare the most popular recall-based metric claimed advertising awareness against an approach that deduces effectiveness from recognition and find claimed advertising awareness seriously underestimates the effectiveness of the advertising tested.
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Measuring Affective Advertising: Implications of
Low Attention Processing on Recall
Robert Heath & Agnes Nairn
University of Bath
School of Management
Working Paper Series
2005.04
This working paper is produced for discussion purposes only. The papers are expected to
be published in due course, in revised form and should not be quoted without the author’s
permission.
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University of Bath School of Management
Working Paper Series
University of Bath School of Management
Claverton Down
Bath
BA2 7AY
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1225 826742
Fax: +44 1225 826473
http://www.bath.ac.uk/management/research/papers.htm
2005
2005.01 Bruce A. Rayton
Specific Human Capital as an Additional Reason
for Profit Sharing
2005.02
Catherine Pardo,
Stephan C. Henneberg,
Stefanos Mouzas and
Peter Naudè
Unpicking the Meaning of Value in Key Account
Management
2005.03 Andrew Pettigrew and
Stephan C. Henneberg
(Editors)
Funding Gap or Leadership Gap – A Panel Discussion on
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
2005.04
Robert Heath & Agnes
Nairn
Measuring Affective Advertising: Implications of Low
Attention Processing on Recall
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MEASURING AFFECTIVE ADVERTISING: IMPLICATIONS OF LOW
ATTENTION PROCESSING ON RECALL
by Robert Heath & Agnes Nairn
Summary:
This paper is about affective advertising, defined as that which works on our emotions and
feelings not just on our knowledge and beliefs. We compare the most popular recall-based
metric – claimed ad awareness – against an approach which deduces effectiveness from
recognition, and find claimed ad awareness seriously underestimates the effectiveness of the
advertising tested.
Introduction:
In 1961, in response to Vance Packard’s famous polemic ‘The Hidden Persuaders’, Rosser
Reeves declared ‘There are no hidden persuaders. Advertising works openly, in the bare and
pitiless sunlight.’ (Reeves 1961: 70). Doubtless there are some who believe, or would like to
believe, that this is still the case, and that the way advertising works is still transparent. But
we know a lot more about how the brain works than we did 40 years ago, and what we have
learned confirms that advertising, indeed communication in general, is a far more complex
process than we used to think it was.
What complicates everything is not claims or brands or products, but emotions; specifically
our emotions as consumers. In 1961 it was believed that emotions were a consequence of our
thoughts, and that if we understood what we were thinking then we understood everything.
But pioneers in psychology like Robert Zajonc (1984) and Robert Bornstein (1989) shattered
this illusion. They showed that feelings and emotions have primacy over thoughts, and that
emotional responses can be created even when we have no awareness of the stimulus that
causes them. More recently, Damasio (1994) has shown that our emotions are critical to
decision-making; and in another area of psychology work by Daniel Schacter and others has
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demonstrated that can take place even when we pay no attention whatever, and that this
learning can interact with our emotional memory stores (Schacter 1996, Shapiro et al 1997).
All this points to advertising having far more power than we think it has. In general we don’t
think it affects us very much, if at all. For example, a poll of American consumers conducted
by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young in 2003 found 82% of US consumers did not believe that
advertising influenced their decision to buy a car, which CGE&Y used as evidence that car
manufacturers are wasting money on ads (FT 14th October 2003). But 13 years of IPA
Advertising Effectiveness Awards have proved beyond doubt that advertising affects us,
whether we believe it or not. So how is it that consultancies like CGE&Y can make such a
patently naïve claim, suggesting that what consumers believe represents the sum of truth
about how advertising works?
We think the explanation arises from the way in which advertising is evaluated. Although our
knowledge of how advertising works has changed considerably, the measures we generally
use to measure it have not. We still rely on survey data which asks people their opinions of
advertising. We still use questions which invite people to recall things they have no reason at
all to remember. And in many cases we evaluate success using metrics whose origins can be
tracked back to the early part of last century.
A brief history of advertising measurement:
The remark, attributed in the UK to Lord Leverhulme, that '50% of my advertising is wasted,
but I don't know which 50%' is well known. Less well known is an observation by Niall
Fitzgerald, current chairman of Unilever, who said in an interview in 1998 ‘If someone asked
me, rather than one of my distinguished predecessors, which half of my advertising was
wasted I would probably say 90% is wasted but I don’t know which 90%’ (Fitzgerald 1998
p22). Given the skills and technology we now have at our fingertips, it is nothing short of
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astonishing that the chairman of a major world advertiser is less sure nowadays of the power
of advertising than half a century ago.
Partly this situation arises because of the complexity of advertising. David Bernbach’s
famous statement that ‘Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be
not a science, but an art’ (Feldwick 2002: 139) give a clue to the myriad alternative opinions
which can be ventured about the merit of even the simplest and smallest piece of
communication. And alternatives equate to harder decisions and longer decision times. Little
wonder that discussions about how well or poorly a campaign has performed tend to start
almost as soon as the first ad appears, because if a TV campaign is found not to be working
then it may be months before it can be adjusted, and years before a replacement is available.
So how can it be discovered at this early stage if an advertising campaign is working? In the
IPA awards advertising effectiveness is generally deemed to have been proved only when
shifts in attitudes or increments in sales or margin can be linked directly to advertising
activity (Broadbent 2000, Roberts 2002). But we all know that sales can take a long time to
respond, and likewise we have become used to image metrics showing few if any shifts in the
short term. As Gordon Brown observes, '…reality rarely co-operates…’ and ‘… the majority
of advertisers have to be content with determining the probable effectiveness …’ (Brown
1986: 289). Fortunately the advertising industry has always favoured fairly simple
hierarchical models so ‘probable’ effectiveness can be determined by collecting data relating
to one of the intermediate stages of whichever model you have based your advertising on.
The earliest and still the best known hierarchical model, AIDA, was reputedly conceived by
St. Elmo Lewis in 1898 as a guide to salesmen (Strong 1925). AIDA, standing for Attention
Interest Decision Action, invites sales (i.e. Action) to be assessed by measurement of
attention or interest, which even today poses something of a challenge. As it turned out, the
first practical intermediate measures were devised in the 1920’s by ‘… two young and
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entrepreneurial college professors from the Midwest, Daniel Starch and George Gallup’
(Feldwick 2002 p.134). Starch’s model, ‘Noticed Read Understood Desired
Action’ (Starch 1923), makes nothing like as catchy an acronym as AIDA, but it allowed the
probability of a sale to be assessed by the level of ‘noticing and reading’ (sic) which took
place. This led Starch to devise the Starch Test, a recognition-based system for the
measurement of ‘Reading and Noting’ of press advertising.
But Starch’s colleague, George Gallup, realised that this approach took no account of
variations in the time which elapses between exposure of advertising and purchase of product.
Gallup therefore devised a different intermediate measure which took account of the decay in
memory which would result from this time gap. This measure was Spontaneous Recall. It
was commercially introduced as a measure of press advertising effectiveness by Gallup in the
1930’s, and later, when TV advertising arrived in the 40's, he pioneered with Claude
Robinson the famous 'Day-after-recall' technique (Du Plessis 1994). Thereafter Recall
spread like ‘flu, and by the 60’s, in the words of William Barclay, ‘Recall of commercial
content was the principal measure of communication effectiveness’ (Barclay et al 1965: 41).
But it was Gordon Brown, described in Admap in 1994 as ‘probably the most influential
single voice in contemporary advertising research’, who was responsible for turning recall
into an even more potent metric. Brown realised that genuine spontaneous recall was of little
value in a world in which advertising was becoming commonplace, so he devised a more
sensitive question for ascertaining recall: ‘We show a list of brands and ask “which of these
brands … have you seen advertised on television recently’ (Brown 1985: 57). The usefulness
of the resulting metric – claimed ad awareness – was enhanced by the development of an
'Awareness Index', which provided a one-number score for the success a campaign has in
increasing claimed ad awareness for a brand (Brown 1986). And publication in the same year
of a study run with Stephen Colman of Cadburys which showed evidence of a link to sales
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effect lent even further weight to the metric (Colman & Brown 1986). By 1991 it was
described in a critical paper by Feldwick as having ‘…gripped the imagination of both
advertisers and agencies as a simple figure … a measure of advertising effectiveness’
(Feldwick et al, 1991; 22).
Measures such as brand name prompted ad awareness and detailed recall have appeared in
almost every major advertising tracking study for the last 20 years, and this ubiquity has
encouraged a simplistic view of advertising effectiveness to develop. Gordon Brown
describes an ad which failed to achieve high recall as ‘a disaster’ and one which did achieve
high recall as ‘a triumph’ (Brown 1985: 57). Haley & Baldinger, writing of an experimental
study into advertising copy testing, observe that ‘Persuasion and recall … are likely to
remain primary evaluative measures in the foreseeable future’ (1991 p.30). Even notable
academics like Rossiter and Percy refer to brand-prompted ad recall as ‘a check on
advertising’s causality in influencing brand attitudes’ (1997: 587).
But has anyone actually checked how valid these recall-based metrics are? Common sense
suggests that advertising will work best if we remember it, but does this mean that advertising
works less well if we don’t remember it? Evidence that we may be wrong to place so much
faith in these types of metrics comes from Leonard Lodish’s meta-analysis of 389 split cable
TV advertising experiments using the Behaviorscan® panel. Lodish concluded that: ‘It is
unlikely there is a strong relationship between standard measures of TV commercial recall …
and sales impact of the copy’. (Lodish et al 1995: 138). So what, if any, case can be made
against the use of recall-based metrics?
The case against recall-based metrics:
The belief underlying recall-based metrics is that advertising has to be persuasive in order to
be effective (Myers Levey & Malavlya 1999). This is particularly the case in the USA,
where, as Tim Ambler so eloquently puts it, ‘The assumption that advertising equals
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persuasion is so ingrained … that a challenge elicits much the same reaction as questioning
your partner’s parentage’ (Ambler 2000: 299). Persuasion, defined as 'to move by argument,
reasoning, or pleading to a belief, position, or course of action', (Longman Dictionary 1984,
p1096) works best if the person you are trying to argue, reason or plead with pays attention to
and recalls what you are saying, otherwise your efforts will be largely wasted.
This is almost certainly why marketing universally assumes that high attention equates to
advertising effectiveness. For example, Philip Kotler, author the world’s most popular
marketing textbook, states unhesitatingly that “The advertiser has to turn the ‘big idea’ into
an actual ad execution that will capture the target market’s attention and their interest”
(Kotler, Armstrong, Saunders & Wong 2002: 668). And even the UK’s most celebrated
marketing academic, the late Peter Doyle, wrote “For an advertisement… to be effective it
must achieve first exposure and then attention.” (1994: 240). But here we encounter an
interesting non-sequiter. Although they talk about the need for advertising to get attention
and for the message to be remembered, neither Kotler nor Doyle say anything about the need
for the advertising itself to be remembered. So why do they both include advertising recall in
their list of recommended metrics? It suggests to us that their list of evaluative metrics is
derived not from their own criteria for advertising effectiveness, but from the measures that
are widely used and available
If remembering advertising has no theoretical role in advertising success, just how important
or useful a metric is advertising recall? In fact, the idea that advertising can work without ads
being attended to or recalled goes back a very long way. Just a few years after the AIDA
model was conceived, the importance of attention was questioned by Walter Dill Scott, who
quoted a subject who claimed never to have looked at any of the ads in the tramcars she
travelled in each day, yet "knew them all by heart and … held the products they advertised in
her highest esteem" (Scott 1903). The schism between high and low attention models
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widened in the 60's, when Herb Krugman (1965) coined the phrase 'low involvement' to
contrast with the persuasion-shift high involvement models which dominated ad pre-testing at
the time, later validating the incidence of low involvement by measuring the brain waves of a
subject whilst watching TV advertising (Krugman 1971). More recently, a team led by
psychologist Stewart Shapiro has shown through controlled attention experiments that ads can
influence product consideration even when processing was entirely peripheral (Shapiro,
MacInnis, & Heckler 1997). His conclusion is that advertising 'has the potential to affect
future buying decisions even when subjects … do not process the ad attentively and … do not
recollect ever having seen the ad'. (1997: 102)
It is difficult to source data from real life to support the idea that ads can work without being
remembered. Partly this is because marketers who regard ad awareness as important will
usually change their advertising if it performs badly on this metric. What little evidence there
is comes from brands whose marketers regards ad awareness as unimportant and therefore not
worth measuring. One such example is Stella Artois, now acknowledged as the most
successful beer brand in the UK. Despite having run for 8 years, Stella’s initial press
campaign (as measured by a competitor’s tracking study) had only achieved claimed ad
awareness of 4% in 1990, compared with 29% for the leading TV advertised brand
Castlemaine XXXX. Yet Stella’s rating for quality on the same survey was 45% compared to
just 19% for Castlemaine. A rigorous analysis of all other factors indicated it could only have
been the advertising which gave the brand its exceptionally high repute, thereby confirming
that advertising can build strong brand values without necessarily performing well on
memory-based evaluative measures. (Heath 1993).
So there is evidence to suggest that recall-based metrics may not be reliable indicators of
advertising effectiveness. What is the explanation for this? How can advertising work
without being explicitly remembered? A clue comes from a paper presented at Esomar in
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2000, which found evidence that UK advertising simply does not conform to the traditional
persuasion norm so popular in the USA. In a study of 36 UK advertisements they noted that
the majority fitted the non-persuasive category, with 86% being seen as having told viewers
nothing they did not already know. In their conclusions the writers demurred from the task of
explaining how these ads might work, but in the text they admit that their measures were
rather rational and were flawed by ‘not picking up all emotional facets fully’ (Mills et al 2000:
4). And it is in this area of emotion that we believe advertising has the ‘hidden power’ that
enables it to work without attention or recall.
Relevant alternative advertising models:
Krugman appears to have developed the first recorded non-memory dependent advertising
model. In his 1977 paper he concludes that ‘recall and attitude effects are not necessary for
advertising to do its job of aiding in-store purchasing’ (Krugman 1977: 52) and that ‘quick
and / or faint perceptions of product advertising, even unremembered, do their job in most
cases’ (Op. cit.: 53) But Krugman’s explanation focused on left and right brain processing
and did not involve affect. This is no surprise because it was not until 1980 that it was
postulated that affect has primacy over cognition (Zajonc 1980), and it is only much more
recently that it has been shown that affect can also have dominance over cognition in
decision-making. (Damasio 1994, Shiv & Fedorikhan 1999).
This new learning about the power of affect on decision-making led Tim Ambler of London
Business School to develop what he calls his MAC (Memory-Affect-Cognition) model
(Ambler 2000). In this model he concludes that it is the Affective content which drives
advertising effectiveness and that most of our ‘thinking’ is merely supportive of the decision
that you ‘feel’ is the right one. In his words, ‘Memory dominates Affect, which in turn
dominates Cognition’ (Ambler 2000: 312). But Ambler’s MAC model does not cast any
light on the role of attention or recall in advertising. One model which does do this is the
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Low Attention Processing Model (Heath 2000, 2001a, 2001b). Note that this was formerly
published as a Low Involvement Processing Model, but the name has been changed because
the term ‘involvement’ has caused confusion in the USA with models which use involvement
to refer to product or category involvement.
Heath’s Low Attention Processing Model can be summarised as follows:
1. Because brands match each other’s performance so swiftly, and consumers exist in a time-
poor environment, considered choice tends to give way to intuitive choice, in which
emotions are more influential.
2. This situation inhibits the consumer’s desire to seek out information about brands, and
minimises the need for them to pay attention to advertising. Brand information can
however be ‘acquired’ at low and even zero attention levels, using two distinct mental
processes. The first process is passive learning, which is a low-attention cognitive
process. Passive learning has been shown to be poor at changing opinions and attitudes
(Petty & Cacioppo 1996) but is able to record and link together brand names and other
elements in an ad.
3. The second process is implicit learning, which is a fully automatic non-cognitive process
that has been shown to be independent of attention. Implicit learning, as is discussed
below, cannot analyse or re-interpret anything, all it is able to do is to store what is
perceived, along with any simple conceptual meanings that we attach to these perceptions.
4. Because of this limitation, implicit learning does not establish strong rational brand
benefits in the consumer’s mind. Instead it builds and reinforces associations over time
and these associations become linked to the brand by passive learning. These associations
are extraordinarily enduring (Tulving Schacter & Stark 1982), and can trigger emotional
markers, which in turn influence intuitive decision-making (Damasio 1994).
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5. Passive and implicit learning are semi-automatic and fully automatic mental processes.
As such they will be used every time an ad is seen or heard, regardless of how little
attention is being paid. Because attention to advertising tends to diminish over time
(Krugman 1972), the occasions on which an ad is processed attentively will be
outnumbered many times by the occasions on which it is processed at lower attention and
its content is learned passively and implicitly.
So advertising which exploits low attention processing will work better when seen several
times at low attention than if seen once or twice at high attention. The implication for research
is that brand associations reinforced by this sort of repetition will remain in memory long
after the ad has been forgotten. To explain this it is useful to review some of the important
characteristics of implicit learning.
Implicit Learning
Although implicit learning has been known about for a decade or more, little research has
been possible into its role in advertising. The reason is evident: you can find out relatively
easily if someone has learned something in the past, because if they know it they have learned
it, and if they don't know it they haven't. But how do you identify if they learned it actively
or passively or implicitly when no detailed memory of the learning event remains?
Recent research into this field was carried out at Sussex University by Alistair Goode (Goode
2001). Using an experimental technique (Process Dissociation Procedure) in which people
can be split into those likely to have processed an ad attentively (i.e. active learning) and
those likely to have processed inattentively (i.e. implicit learning) he found a positive
correlation between implicit learning and product liking. Goode's findings reinforce the idea
that implicit learning is not simply an adjunct to traditional attentive learning but can be an
important contributor towards the success of an ad.
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How is implicit learning able to do this? The answer lies in the nature of implicit memory,
the memory system which underpins implicit learning (Berry & Diennes 1991).
Implicit Memory
Implicit memory works in two different ways. First, like all memory systems, it records what
is perceived, that is, what is seen and heard (Tulving & Schacter 1990). However, implicit
memory has also been shown to work conceptually; in other words, it can record and store
simple meanings which we attach to what was perceived from our semantic memory store
(MacAndrew, Glisky & Schacter 1987). These experiments were replicated by Vaidya et al.
(1995).
The finding that implicit memory works conceptually is of critical importance. Implicit
memory is unlikely to be able to exert much influence on purchase if it works in the
perceptual mode alone, because no meaning will be attached to the perceptions that are stored.
But if implicit memory can also process concepts, then it can store emotive values triggered
from past experience alongside these perceptions. In this way we open up a theoretical route
by which implicit memory on its own can influence intuitive brand choice.
None of this counts for much if implicit memory performs less effectively than explicit
memory. But implicit memory has been found to be superior to explicit memory in three
further respects: It has been shown to be substantially more durable than explicit memory
(Allen & Reber 1980); it has been shown to be substantially more capacious than explicit
memory (Standing 1973, Tulving et al. 1982); and most important of all, it has been shown to
be independent of attention. This latter finding was suggested by Tulving et al (Op. Cit) but
their research took place in situations where the respondent was able to pay as much attention
to the task as they wanted. Their tests were repeated by Jacoby, Toth and Yonalinas (1993) in
both full attention and divided attention environments, and the findings confirmed that
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attention at the time of learning is of importance to subsequent conscious recollection, but is
irrelevant to implicit memory.
The above properties have been experimentally verified in respect of advertising by Shapiro
and Krishnan (2001). In summary, implicit memory appears to be a substantial memory
system that can record perceptions and concepts automatically and irrespective of how much
attention is being paid, and can retain them over long periods.
Further support for the role of automatic processing in relation to affect comes from the most
recent work published by Damasio (2000). It is generally assumed that all our attentive
processing operates through our working memory, thus everything that drives recall of
advertising has first to pass through working memory. What Damasio has discovered is that
feelings and emotions are processed without the use of working memory and so by definition
must be processed automatically and implicitly. Indeed, Joseph Le Doux even goes so far as
to assert that ‘Our emotions are more easily influenced when we are not aware that the
influence is occurring’ (Le Doux 1998: 59).
All this suggests that metrics based on recall are likely to work even less well when it comes
measuring advertising with a strong affective content. In order to examine this hypothesis we
need to identify an intermediate metric that will be capable of measuring advertising which
works affectively and inattentively, i.e. a metric that can tap into implicit memory. This is
discussed in the next section.
Metrics based on Implicit Learning:
The way to find a metric that measures implicit learning is by finding one that is capable of
tapping into implicit memory. We know from experiment that recall is mainly a test of
explicit memory, because it diminishes in divided attention situations and increases when full
attention is paid (Gardiner & Parkin 1990). But there is another test of memory that is
extensively used in psychology because it is more powerful than recall and is much less
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dependent upon attention. That test is Recognition. Recognition memory has been shown in
experiments to be effectively inexhaustible. Standing’s experiment referenced earlier showed
respondents able to recognise up to 10,000 pictures without difficulty, concluded that ‘…
recognition memory of the subjects seems unsaturatable’ (Rose 1993:117).
The value of using recognition is that it taps into both explicit and implicit memory, which
means we can get a much better idea of the actual level of advertising exposure that has taken
place. As Krugman said, ‘Conclusions about amount of exposure based on recall data will
greatly underestimate exposure, conclusions about amount of exposure based on recognition
data will somewhat underestimate exposure’ (Krugman 1977: 11). But Krugman was
working in a research environment where recognition was measured through still pictures of
TV ads or descriptions read over the telephone. Using today’s computerised interviewing
techniques we are able to show TV advertising in full, and get an even more accurate idea of
who has and has not seen it. By identifying those people who have seen the advertising and
subsequently forgotten it we should be able to test directly how effective recall is at
evaluating emotive advertising.
A controlled test of Recall vs. Recognition metrics:
The critical area of debate in this paper concerns the implication that the processing of Affect
has for ad tracking research. If, as is predicted by the Low Attention Processing Model, brand
associations and their emotive links endure in memory beyond the point at which conscious
recollection of the ad itself disappears, then measures such as claimed ad awareness and
detailed recall are likely to underestimate the effectiveness of advertising which has a high
affective content. In simple terms, significant numbers of people who have been exposed to
the ad and influenced by it will not actively remember it and will therefore not believe the
brand has been advertised recently.
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This hypothesis can be tested by collecting both claimed ad awareness and recognition and
cross-tabulating them against a dependent measure which links to sales. Sales intention is one
possible dependent measure, but there is strong evidence that it measures what was bought
last time not what will be bought next time (Barnard 1994). A better measure is favourability,
which has been shown to strongly predict future brand choice (Hofmeyr & Rice 2000).
An initial examination of these two metrics was run in 2002, and the findings from this study
are briefly summarised in the next section.
BUTCHER’S DOG Pilot Study:
A research study was run in the UK on a new TV advertising campaign for the Butchers Dog
brand of dog food, which had not advertised for over a year. The campaign was chosen
because it offered no persuasive evidence that the brand made dogs fit (the brand claim) but
instead featured simple visual playlets of dogs doing things that they physically cannot do.
This creative approach was deemed likely, after initial exposure, to encourage enjoyable but
essentially low attention processing.
A single wave of research was run on the Taylor Nelson CAPI Omnibus three weeks after
national transmission of the advertising started. Favourability towards the brand was
measured using a ten-point semantic scale ranging from 'very unfavourable' to 'very
favourable'. Claimed ad awareness was asked using the brand-name prompted question
alluded to earlier: 'Have you seen any advertising on TV recently for (brand)?' Those who
answered in the affirmative were then asked to describe anything they could recall about the
advertising. Recognition was measured by playing the ad in full to respondents. In order to
minimise overclaim through expectation of the brand advertising the ad was adapted to
remove all reference to the brand, and respondents were asked if the advertising had been
seen by them several times, once or twice, or not at all.
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It should be noted that this definition of recognition differs from that which is often quoted by
ad research companies. For example Sutherland (2000) defines recognition as 'People
…shown photo-stills and asked whether they have seen that ad', an approach which can result
in poor recognition if the key elements in the advertising are sound or music or action of some
sort. Recognition can only be accurately assessed by showing the entire ad as stimulus, and in
our test we removed only the brand references, which was necessary in order to preclude
responses based on an expectation that the advertising would have been seen.
Results
Because brand users rate their brands higher than non-users, analysis was restricted to users of
dog food who were non-users of the Butchers Dog brand. This avoids errors due to different
proportions of users and non-users in each part of the sample. Thus all results shown are from
users of other brands.
The first step was to examine the exposure levels as predicted by the two metrics, and a cross
tabulation of the sample of 318 respondents is shown in Table 1.
TABLE 1 Users
of dog food who were
non-users of the brand
Claimed seen
brand advertising
on TV recently
Claimed not seen
brand advertising
on TV recently
TOTAL
(Col %)
Recognised one or
other execution
70 152 222 (70%)
Recognised neither
execution
10 86 96 (30%)
TOTAL (Row %) 80 (25%) 238 (75%) 318 (100%)
(100%)
As Krugman predicted, claimed advertising awareness indicates a lot less exposure than
recognition: just 80 respondents (25% of total sample) claimed they had seen the brand
advertising on TV, but 222 respondents (70% of total sample) recognised one or other of the
executions. And when the 80 people who claimed the brand was advertising were asked what
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detail they recalled only one-quarter (6% of the total sample) were able to identify anything
from the new campaign. These findings confirm the expected poor performance of explicit
memory in respect of advertising with a strong affective content.
25% claimed ad awareness might be considered by some to be an acceptable level just three
weeks after advertising has started, but one has to ask what exactly this metric is measuring.
The received wisdom is that claimed ad awareness is an indication of those respondents who
have seen the advertising and lodged it in their mind. But evidently it isn’t a very good
measure of this, because 10 of the 80 people who claimed the brand had been advertising did
not recognise either ad, from which it can be deduced that they had either not seen the
advertising at all and were guessing, or their appreciation of time was so muddled that they
thought the campaign which had been on air over a year earlier had been on air recently.
If claimed ad awareness is indeed a measure of those who have seen and remembered the
advertising, then it makes sense that these people should manifest the maximum effect of the
advertising. In this study we measured advertising effectiveness by the shift in favourability
towards the brand. So if the advertising is effective and claimed ad awareness is
representative of those people who have seen and remembered the ad, then those who claimed
they had seen the brand advertised on TV recently should have higher brand favourability
than those who did not. The results of a cross tabulation of these two metrics is shown in
table 2.
TABLE 2 Users
of dog food who were
non-users of the brand
Total Claimed recently
advertised on TV
Claimed not
recently
advertised on TV
Sample size (%) 318 (100%) 80 (25%) 238 (75%)
Favourability Mean
(10 point scale)
4.33 4.33 4.33
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These results show there is no difference in favourability between those who claimed to have
seen the brand advertised on TV and those who claimed not to have seen it advertised on TV.
Both groups rated the brand at 4.33. So if claimed ad awareness truly measures the optimum
type of ad exposure then this campaign is clearly ineffective, because there was no shift in
brand favourability.
But what happens if we now look at the brand favourability amongst those who recognised
one or other of the ads, and can therefore be assumed to have really seen them? Also, bearing
in mind that the Low Attention Processing Model suggests that repeated viewing is more
effective than one or two exposures, what is the brand favourability of those who saw an ad
several times compared with those who saw it just once or twice? These results are in table 3.
TABLE 3 Users
of dog food who
were non-users of
the brand
Did not
recognise
either
execution
Recognised
one or other
execution
Recognised an
execution and
seen once or
twice
Recognised an
execution and
seen several
times
Sample size (%) 318
(100%)
96 (30%) 222 (70%) 90 (28%) 132 (42%)
Favourability Mean
(10 point scale)
4.14 4.41 4.20 4.56
Here a very different picture emerges. Those who recognised one or other of the ads are more
favourably disposed to the brand than those who did not recognise either ad (and bear in mind
that these are all non-users of the brand). And an even higher level of brand favourability is
observed amongst those who said they had seen an ad several times.
So there is a positive favourability shift amongst those who recognised an ad, but no shift
amongst those who claimed the brand had been advertised on TV. What explains this
disparity? The best way to find out is to look at those who claimed the brand had been
advertised and see if their favourability scores vary across different levels of actual exposure.
Table 4 shows the results.
18
TABLE 4 Users
of dog food who were
non-users of the brand
Total:
claimed
advertised
on TV
A: Claimed
advertised
and not
seen ad
B: Claimed
advertised and
saw ads once
or twice
C: Claimed
advertised and
saw an ad
several times
A+B: Claimed
advertised and
saw ads once,
twice or not at all
Sample size (%) 80 (25%) 10 (3%) 21 (7%) 49 (15%) 31 (10%)
Favourability Mean
(10 point scale)
4.33 3.60 3.38 4.90** 3.45**
What is at once evident is that those who saw the ad several times (column C) have the
highest rating for the brand, higher than those who saw the ad only once or twice (column B),
or those who did not see the ad at all (column A). Unfortunately the sample size of the cells
A, B, and C is too small to allow significance to be tested. But if we combine columns A and
B we can compare those who did not see an ad or saw one only once or twice with those who
saw an ad several times. The differences are now significant: An ANOVA reveals the
difference in mean favourability between these two groups (Columns ‘A+B’ and ‘C’) is
significant at 99% (F (468) = 7.24. p < 0.009).
The explanation is now clear. Those who claimed they had seen the brand advertised
comprised two different groups: one had been exposed to the advertising once or twice or not
at all, and had not been affected by it; the other had been exposed to the advertising several
times, and had been affected by it. In summary, as the Low Attention Processing model
predicts, claimed ad awareness produced a sample whose consistency in respect of their actual
exposure and response to the advertising was seriously flawed.
This study was the first one conducted. In order to validate the findings we decided to repeat
the study, this time with advertising specifically designed to exploit the Low Attention
Processing Model in the way it influenced consumers’ feelings.
19
STANDARD LIFE Test:
In 2002 Standard Life decided to replace its advertising campaign. Working with The Leith
Agency and The Value Creation Company they developed a new campaign, the purpose of
which was to increase favourability towards Standard Life. This was achieved by illustrating
things in life that people like and linking this positive feeling to the Standard Life brand using
the line ‘I like Standard Life’.
Primary media used were outdoor and TV, and the campaign commenced on 6
th
October
2003. The advertising was tracked by the Nunwood Consultancy in two independent surveys:
A continuous CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) survey collected data on brand
awareness, brand favourability, and claimed ad awareness: a monthly face-to-face CAPI
(Computer Assisted Personal Interview) survey collected data on these measures also, in
addition exposing the debranded ads and collecting recognition, estimated frequency of
exposure, and brand attribution. Question design corresponded with those used in the
Butchers Dog pilot described above except that detailed recall was not asked in this study.
CAPI Results:
The first wave of CAPI research was run 11 days after the start of advertising. As in the pilot
research our first step is to examine the sample, which is shown in Table 5.
TABLE 5 Non-
users of Standard Life
Claimed seen TV
advertising for
brand recently
Claimed not seen
TV advertising
for brand recently
TOTAL
(Col %)
Recognised one or
other execution
30 87 117
(65%)
Recognised neither
execution
18 45 63
(35%)
TOTAL (Row %) 48 (27%) 132 (73%) 180 (100%)
(100%)
20
Once again it is evident that Claimed Ad Awareness under-represents the actual exposure of
the campaign. 27% claimed that Standard Life had been advertised on TV recently, compared
with 65% who recognised and can therefore be deemed to have actually seen the advertising.
And 37% of those who claimed Standard Life had been advertising (18 out of 48 respondents)
did not recognise the new campaign at all.
Next we analyse favourability amongst those who claim the brand has and has not been
advertised on TV recently. These results are shown in Table 6.
TABLE 6 Non-
users of Standard Life
Total Claimed recently
advertised on TV
Claimed not recently
advertised on TV
Sample size (%) 180 (100%) 48 (27%) 132 (73%)
Favourability Mean
(10 point scale)
5.98 5.77 6.05
This time we see that the favourability score amongst those who claim the brand had
advertised recently is actually lower than amongst those who claim the brand has not
advertised recently. Again, the clear implication is that the advertising has not worked.
Now compare these results to the analysis of recognition, in Table 7:
TABLE 7 Non-
users of Standard
Life
Total Did not
recognise either
execution
Recognised
one or other
execution
Recognised an
execution and
seen several times
Sample size (%) 180 (100%) 63 (35%) 117 (65%) 49 (27%)
Favourability Mean
(10 point scale)
5.98 5.65 6.15 6.16
Again we see that those non-users who recognise the advertising are more favourably
disposed towards Standard Life than those who do not. In this case, however, the
favourability amongst those who have seen the ad several times is not higher. The conclusion
21
is that this advertising either works very quickly, or perhaps needs a longer exposure period
than the dog food advertising. We address this point later on.
The final analysis of the CAPI data is a cross-tabulation of those who claim the brand was
advertised recently against recognition, and results are shown in Table 8:
TABLE 8 Non-
users of Standard
Life
Total: claimed
advertised
recently on TV
Claimed advertised
recently and not
seen ad
Claimed advertised
recently and seen
ads
Sample size (%) 48 (100%) 18 (37%) 30 (63%)
Favourability Mean
(10 point scale)
5.77 4.99 6.21
Again we see that the low favourability score amongst those who claimed that the brand had
been advertising on TV recently is caused by the 37% who had not actually seen the
advertising. Their mean favourability is 4.99, compared with a mean favourability of 6.21
amongst those who recognised the ad.
Discussion of results:
The results support the theory that advertising which relies upon Affect (i.e. which mainly
influences emotions and feelings) is likely to benefit from longer periods of repeat exposure.
It also supports the hypothesis that recall-based metrics like Claimed Ad Awareness are likely
to seriously underestimate the effectiveness of advertising which relies on Affect. What does
this imply for the research industry?
The question 'have you seen brand X advertised on TV recently?' is one which we who work
in the industry instinctively like and understand. We can answer it easily and accurately,
because we pay attention to advertising: it is, after all, what pays our wages. The results
above suggest that the clarity with which we can answer this and similar questions is not
always shared by consumers. Ordinary people, who watch TV as part of their day-to-day
22
routine, almost certainly pay a lot less attention to TV advertising than we do and remember a
lot less of it than we do. So when asked if they have seen a brand advertised on TV recently
they can get the answer wrong; and when asked what they can recall about the advertising for
a brand, they sometimes recall nothing. But this does not necessarily mean that advertising
has had no influence on their attitudes towards the brand.
Advertising which relies on affect is increasingly common: indeed, the majority of
advertising employs affect to a greater or lesser degree nowadays. We have presented
evidence that the effect that advertising has on consumers’ emotions and feelings (i.e. Affect)
is likely to be largely unknown to them, and such advertising is unlikely to be well-recalled.
The results of our research suggest market research systems need to be revised to
accommodate the new paradigms which modern advertising works within.
Conclusion:
We believe the findings of this paper call into question the value of recall metrics, and we
conclude that methods based upon the periodic measurement and cross-analysis of
recognition and brand metrics represent a better future direction for advertising research,
because they are uniquely able to evaluate the hidden emotional power which advertising
undoubtedly has.
One caveat. It should be noted that these tests were conducted on advertising selected for
having a high Affective content. Although low attention processing is applied by the
consumer to all advertising it is important to stress that the model does not necessarily apply
to all advertising. It will not be as relevant to advertising whose main purpose is to get a
direct response, or advertising which is trying to impart ‘new news’, as both of these types of
advertising will benefit by achieving the highest level of attention they can. It is possible that
the use of recall-based metrics can be justified on such advertising, and we encourage this to
be investigated.
23
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26
University of Bath School of Management
Working Paper Series
Past Papers
University of Bath School of Management
Claverton Down
Bath
BA2 7AY
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1225 826742
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2004
2004.01 Stephan C. M.
Henneberg
Political Marketing Theory: Hendiadyoin or Oxymoron
2004.02 Yi-Ling Chen &
Stephan C. Henneberg
Political Pulling Power. Celebrity Political Endorsement
and Campaign Management for the Taipei City Councillor
Election 2002
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Naudé
Network Pictures – A Concept of Managers’ Cognitive
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2004.04 Peter Reason Education for Ecology: Science, Aesthetics, Spirit and
Ceremony
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A New Cost Management & Accounting Approach For
Lean Enterprises
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Felicia Fai
Assessing the context, nature, and extent of MNEs’
Backward knowledge transfer to Chinese suppliers
2004.07 Richard Fairchild The effect of product differentiation on strategic financing
decisions.
2004.08 Richard Fairchild Behavioral Finance in a Principal-agent Model of Capital
Budgeting
2004.09 Patrick Stacey & Joe
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Managing the Development Process in a Games Factory: A
Temporal Perspective
2004.10 Stephan C. M.
Henneberg
Operationalising a Multi-faceted Concept of Strategic
Postures of Political Marketing
2004.11 Felicia Fai Technological Diversification, its Relation to Product
Diversification and the Organisation of the Firm.
2004.12 Richard Fairchild and
Ganggang Zhang
Investor Irrationality and Optimal Open-market Share
Repurchasing
2004.13 Bruce A. Rayton and
Suwina Cheng
Corporate governance in the United Kingdom: changes to
the regulatory template and company practice from 1998-
2002
27
2004.14 Bruce A. Rayton Examining the interconnection of job satisfaction and
organizational commitment: An application of the bivariate
probit model
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In some private television channels in Turkey, herbal cream advertisements for joint diseases are televised. These ads, which are shown for a few minutes on the screens, are generally directed towards the elderly who complain of joint pain and related creams are claimed to be effective in passing many pains irrespective of the variety. In these ads, singers and elderly who complain of joint pain also show up and tell the effects of creams. The advertisements are constructed in a metaphoric language. Therefore, in this study, herbal cream advertisements for joint diseases will be examined through the advertisement of 3,000-year-old Miracle Cream, Miracle Cream of East Medicine, and Miracle Cream, which are televised in the middle of 2017. In this ethnographic study, how the relevant advertisements are coded, organized, and nurtured for the buyers who complain of joint pain will be investigated.
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