brands & branding

How Best to Advertise During a Recession

  • ARF Knowledge at Hand, CMO Brief

Even though the U.S. economy has some bright spots, economists warn a recession is still possible due to stubborn inflation. Advertisers want to be prepared as a result. While there is no failsafe advertising playbook to follow, as individual brands and businesses have nuanced needs and branding, there are some best practices and guidelines, which the following ARF Knowledge at Hand report gleans from some of the best research on the topic. The report covers the impact of “going dark,” the often-overlooked opportunities a recession can bring, how to maximize media spend effectiveness and how to frame appeals that are most attractive to customers during tough economic times.

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How Do You Stimulate Great Creative and Measure It?


At our second annual Creative Effectiveness event, industry visionaries discussed the perspectives, theories, and resources they employ to develop and measure great creative. Attendees joined us in New York City or via livestream to hear fresh insights on the advertising landscape: from using AI as a stimulus for creative to extracting behavioral data and using that to try and inspire creative. Immediately after, we honored the teams behind insights-driven advertising with the ARF David Ogilvy Awards ceremony and dinner. The Gold, Silver and Bronze winners were announced, as well as the reveal of this year’s prestigious Grand Ogilvy Award recipient.

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More Product Placements?

Recent reports predict an increase in product placement and product integration spending. Research shows how to make them more effective.

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How to Measure Trust in Brands

A new study indicates that most measures of brand trust are flawed because they are based on questionable assumptions about consumers’ understanding of “trust”.  Read more »


On June 7, 2023, attention economy experts came together in NYC to share case studies and participate in engaging discussions on the attention measurement landscape. Plus, attendees heard a recap of the issues debated at AUDIENCExSCIENCE and an update on Phase I of the ARF Attention Validation Initiative, an empirically based evaluation of the rapidly developing market for attention measurement and prediction.

What the Metaverse Means for Marketers

On September 21, 2022, speakers from Kantar, Meta, Next Media Partners, Snap, VMLY&R, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence and XRGuild shared insights into how the Metaverse will impact marketers. They discussed implications for interoperability as well as paid advertising.

Ad-Spend Cues, Deepfakes/A.I., Badass Endorsers and Influencer KPIs

At this Insights Studio, authors from three different continents showcase their recently published work—including the JAR Best Paper 2022 on how advertising expenditures drive consumers’ perceptions of ad and brand quality. Also featured are studies on deepfakes and AI reshaping the advertising industry, the success of using product endorsers who are actors known for roles portraying despicable characters, and KPI patterns of social media influencers across several platforms. Talking points in the concluding Q&A span the future of AI in advertising and influencer marketing, machine-driven decisions for choosing endorsers, and factors (product- and economic-related) affecting consumer perceptions of quality in TV ads and engagement in user-generated content.

An Economic Analysis of TV Advertising Profitability

Professor Anna Tuchman of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management presented an economic analysis of the effectiveness of a major portion of the U.S. linear television advertising spend, worth $66B in 2019. The study, conducted with Bradley Shapiro and Günter Hitsch of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, investigated the elasticity of actual sales for 288 distinct CPG brands on the basis of brand-specific ad spend as captured by Nielsen store and household panels along with Nielsen Ad Intel data. They used log-log regression and flexible machine learning algorithms. Their goal is to help firms evaluate ad campaign effectiveness with the hope their measurement will help make better ad spend decisions.

Attentive Reach: The Case for Human Attention in Brand Advertising

Realeyes uses software solutions for measuring human attentional and emotional response to advertising. Max Kalehoff explained the importance of attention measurement as a gauge of brand performance. He urged companies, particularly those with latent sales, to incorporate it into their business models.

MODERATED TRACK DISCUSSIONS: Attention Measures: What Counts & How Much Does it Cost

Jane Clarke (CIMM) followed up with each of this session’s presenters on the goals and data points of their discrete studies. The following are edited highlights from the discussions.

  • A necessity condition is that consumers have to pay attention to advertising for advertising to initiate any kind of sequence, according to Shuba (Boston University). To the extent that consumers pay attention to ads, only then is any kind of advertising effect through a hierarchical sequence triggered, so it’s a necessary condition but it’s not sufficient to say which of these intermediate factors would have the effect on sales. Not all of these metrics drive sales equally – know the sequence for your brand and advertisers.
  • Gen Z and Millennials consumed more content overall, but still had a higher rate of aided recall than other generations (Gen X, Boomers), shared Heather (Snap). Last year, they conducted a research study with Kantar to evaluate the information processing power across different generations to see if there were any differences. Each generation used Snap as they normally would, and they controlled for ad exposure. What they learned is that younger participants showed superior ad processing power when looking at ad message recall. This is surprising because we may be underestimating what we expect from the younger generations.
  • Advertisers are getting better at creating 6-second ads. According to Kara (Magna Global), back when they first started building :06 second ads, it was simply taking your :15 or :30 second ad and cutting it down to :06 seconds. You were really at the mercy at what had already been shot for another purpose. Cutting the original down to :06 seconds and maintaining branding and storytelling was very difficult to do. Now advertisers are creating :06 second ads – either on a custom basis or shooting with :06 second ad in mind, knowing that the longer versions will be cut down. Overall, that’s led to more efficient short ads because they’ve learned with the right material and testing what is going to work in a shorter amount of time.
  • The historical econometric model approach won’t garner the most accurate view of cross-platform reach or delivery, noted Heather. From this research they were able to provide a different way of thinking. A :06 second ad isn’t half as effective as a :12 second ad, and a :12 second ad isn’t a frequency of 2 to a :06 sec ad – that kind of thinking doesn’t hold true any longer. They saw that there were other kinds of descriptors, like platform, device, attention – those can and should be used to better equivalize impressions across platforms. She hopes this research challenges the industry’s way of thinking.
  • A new tool called the Attention Calculator was just launched by TVision and Lumen. Yan (TVision) explained that this tool was based on their study and it’s for anyone interested in attention for media planning and duration based metrics. It’s a free and interactive tool that calculates the cost of attention with the user’s CPMs to see the average cost per impression across platforms, based on Ebiquity data.