Ad­ver­tis­ing re­ally works: here’s proof

Finweek English Edition - - ADVERTISING & MARKETING -

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.

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