Advertising really works: here’s proof
ENIGMATIC BILLBOARDS posted recently in Sandton and Menlyn Park, Pretoria, became a subject of public debate for the three weeks they were up. What was being advertised by a billboard reading “Tiger Woods’s real name is Eldrick” or “David Beckham’s second names are Robert Joseph”?
Now it can be told. They were dummy ads in a test of the advertising effectiveness of outof-home media, though the results probably support a more general statement about the effectiveness of advertising.
In the narrow sense they provided pretty conclusive proof advertising works. In before-and-after questioning, the three messages in the washrooms, malls and surrounding roads of Sandton City and Menlyn Park Shopping Centre enjoyed an average near-tripling of “message uplift”.
Samples of 400 people were asked before the campaign what Tiger Woods’s real name was and another 400 were asked after the campaign. Knowledge of that fact increased from 3% to 15%, an increase of 400% on the baseline in the case of Woods and a mathematically incalculable percentage for Beckham, where awareness of both names increased from zero to 7% and 12% of one name.
Washroom posters informing you Brazil would host the 2014 Soccer World Cup also did well, achieving 48% more in Sandton and 60% more at Menlyn Park.
The tests were carried out by TNS Research Surveys and GSM Quadrant on behalf of Primedia Unlimited. In reality, says research guru Neil Higgs of TNS, the effectiveness is significantly higher than the figures show, as those results were achieved after a short (three-week) flighting time. In addition, the experiment used cognitive messages, whereas most brand advertising also works at a deeper, more emotive level.