Sunday, 18 November 2012

Tell a lie often enough & they’ll believe you!

The lie?

"Advertising works."

The biggest lie in the history of business, it makes Enron and all else pale into insignificance.

In the 80s the respected Advertising Journal in the USA, Advertising Age, called in two Professors of Marketing from the Wharton School of Business.

The brief, within a reasonable budget, would they go away and conclusively prove that advertising works. They would have a time frame of roughly six months to work within.

"Piece of cake" they said.

At the end of six months they returned to the offices of Advertising Age and were reluctantly forced to admit, "there was not one shred of evidence available to establish the fact that advertising exclusively increased sales". However that was not the end of it, they also had to admit to the fact that their research efforts indicated that "the effect of advertising appeared to be in the opposite direction!"

In England, in the 70s, I recall a study produced by a major advertising agency, still in existence today and under the same name, that showed that, far from television advertising giving the biggest reach their research showed the opposite!

They found that of any given TV audience 50% were not watching the commercial break at all, a further 10% went out of the room, 15% talked, read, knitted or whatever, 5% switched channels, 10% made a cup of tea and only 5% claimed to watch commercials!

In the 80s the Newspaper Society produced a study on the viewing of the commercial channels, they conducted this research by building in miniature TV cameras into the TV set and filming what the audience did when the commercial break was shown. The results replicated the study mentioned above but included 5% of the audience used the commercial break as an opportunity to make love…someone showed some sense!

Despite all this evidence, and a multitude of other research studies which Advertising Agencies totally ignored , they did not recommend that their Clients spend their marketing pounds on more cost efficient media.

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