CMO Briefs

A one-page summary of ARF research, white papers, Knowledge at Hands, and perspectives on relevant topics.

How Effective are Cause-Related Messages in Advertising Today?

  • CMO Brief

During the last five years, we have seen an upswing and change in the inclusion of values in advertising, especially the increase in cause-related marketing (CRM) which includes messages about societal goals such as sustainability, ESG (environmental, social and governance) and DEI (diversity, equity/equality and inclusion). Given marketers’ interest in these issues—ranging from wanting to express support for causes to being concerned about a possible backlash—the ARF has reviewed the research on cause-related marketing as well as related issues, such as ads with more general pro-social and altruistic messages. ARF researchers conclude that ads with cause-related messages can be effective, but many are not. Future research should focus on which kinds of messages are most effective among different consumer groups.

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Attention and Ad Impact: The Evolution of Attention Metrics

The proliferation of media platforms, with increases in multi-tasking, has made finding ways to get consumers to pay attention to advertising more important than ever. In response, researchers have developed new methods to assess attention and the ARF has found that they can provide more direct and more accurate measurements. However, as these metrics are constantly evolving, there are open questions regarding their validity and reliability. Further, as researchers are using the term “attention” in different ways, clarity about what is meant by attention and how it is being measured is crucial.

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The Evolution of “OTT” and “CTV”


Towards the end of 2018, the ARF issued a Knowledge at Hand report and a CMO Brief each called The OTT Revolution. Since then, the OTT revolution has not only continued but it has accelerated. Moreover, the pandemic acted as a catalyst, increasing the rate of this acceleration. At the same time, the meaning of the term OTT has changed.

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What Makes Product Placements Effective?

  • CMO Brief

Product placements have grown in recent years and the practice is predicted to increase even further. According to a new “Global Product Placement Forecast” by media economists PQ Media, global product placement spending has rebounded at double-digit rates in 2021 and is forecast to do so again this year. What makes this strategy effective? Decades of research provide us with several useful insights.

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CMO Briefs: Influencer Marketing: Best Practices, Trends & Covid’s Impact

Influencer marketing continues to grow ever more complex. Options are increasing and in today’s climate, striking the right tone with consumers is crucial. What consumers long to see is authentic relationships between brands and influencers. In just a few years, the paradigm has shifted away from a focus on major celebrities and toward niche, micro-influencers. So, while finding the right influencer is crucial, these complexities can make it challenging. Read more.

Influencer Marketing: Best Practices, Trends & Covid’s Impact

  • ARF Knowledge at Hand; CMO BRIEF

Influencer marketing has grown more complex over a short period of time, and Covid has accelerated its development. Options have increased significantly while setting the right tone with consumers is perhaps more crucial than ever before. What consumers want to see is authentic relationships between brands and influencers. And the focus has shifted away from celebrities and towards niche, micro-influencers. The following Knowledge at Hand and CMO Brief cover a recent Knowledge Center report looking into the current state of influencer marketing, what the trends are, how Covid has affected this phenomenon and best practices when putting together an influencer strategy.

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CMO Brief: Attention and Ad Impact — New Insights from New Research

One of the essential goals of advertising is to get customers’ attention. However, a lot of campaigns approach this simplistically. More “attention” does not necessarily mean an ad is more effective. Attention is a much more complex phenomenon than that. While attention is a prerequisite for ad impact, the term is ambiguous, complex and attention is difficult to measure. Moreover, “attention” does not necessarily indicate a positive response, and a high level of attention is not always a sign of a positive ad impact. Read more.

CMO Brief: Best Practices for Comingling Set-Top Box and Smart TV ACR Data

Data sets for STBs and Smart TVs have, up until now, been separate from one another, which has hampered the ability to accurately assess viewing habits. This data would be very useful for planning, buying and optimizing ad campaigns. Since the two are complementary, combining them can help us form scaled, granular, TV tuning data sets that are more nationally representative. Luckily, a new report from the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM)—a subsidiary of the ARF, outlines best practices for combining set-top box data and smart TV ACR data. Read more.

CMO Briefs: Best Practices in Media and Market Research Studies

Surveys are an important tool to explore consumers’ behaviors, attitudes and intentions, and they can provide valuable data to inform business decisions. However, as with all research, quality matters and ignoring best practices impacts the validity and reliability of the findings, possibly to an extent that makes them unusable for business decisions.   Read more.