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A Preview of the Journal of Advertising Research

September 2016 (Vol. 56, Issue 3)



Editor’s Desk
How Does Recall Work in Advertising?
“If a target audience cannot remember a marketer’s message, advertising largely becomes a waste of time, money, and resources,” notes JAR Editor Emeritus Geoffrey Precourt. “That’s why recall measures—critical tools in marketing research—become every bit as important as the creation, placement, and viewing of a marketing message.” Precourt offers a summary of this issue’s special package, which offers a deep dive into “best research practices, as well as fresh, useful counsel for marketing practitioners who need evidence of the efficacy of their messages.”

What 80 Years of Study Means for the Future of Advertising Research
Horst Stipp, the Advertising Research Foundation’s evp – research & innovation, global & ad effectiveness, looks back on nearly a century of scholarship and reflects on the factors that drove this robust body of work. The same drivers, in fact—the emergence of new advertising platforms; changes related to the consumer; and methodology and data source innovation—will drive future research in new and inventive ways, Stipp predicts. “Although we always need to assess the implications of societal and consumer change, we should never assume that past insights about consumer response to advertising are invalid.”

Speaker’s Box
Advertising Creativity: Some Open Questions
Arthur J. Kover, Fordham University professor emeritus and a former JAR editor-in-chief, explores a series of what he calls “open questions” about advertising creativity. Kover, whose career includes 23 years in advertising agencies, searches for a connection between creativity and advertising effectiveness. “Just what ‘creativity’ is and how it makes an impact long has vexed researchers in the fields,” Kover writes. “When pushed hard, most would say, ‘I really can’t explain it, but I know it when I see it.’” Perhaps that’s the best “partial” answer, but that “flash of intuition depends on who is exposed to the advertising: ‘Creative to whom?’” Kover recommends careful consideration of the underlying creative strategy early in the process of developing advertising. The essay ends with a tribute by Kover’s peers and admirers on his contributions to the field of creativity—in light of his suggestion to this journal that this will be his last paper submission.

Numbers, Please
The Power of Political Advertising: Lessons for Practitioners
How Data Analytics, Social Media, and Creative Strategies Shape U.S. Presidential Election Campaigns

Commercial advertisers have much to learn from the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns, writes JAR columnist and comScore, Inc. ceo and cofounder, Gian M. Fulgoni, with his colleagues, Andrew Lipsman and Carol Davidsen. They describe the combined use of data analytics, creative messaging, and social media involved—strategies that, they believe, commercial advertisers should take better advantage of to improve efficiencies and effectiveness in their own marketing efforts. Davidsen’s voice is essential: Prior to joining comScore, she was known for her work as director, integration and media analytics for the 2012 Obama campaign, in collaboration with Rentrak (now merged with comScore). In that role, she created “The Optimizer,” an analytics tool that combined modeled campaign target data, television set-top box viewership data, local and national commercial inventory rates, and behavioral analysis to discover untapped and efficient commercial inventory for the campaign.


The Future of Advertising in China:
Practitioner Insights Into the Evolution of Chinese Advertising Creativity

Little is known about the application of creativity as a tool for generating effective advertising communication in China. So, a trio of academics from Australia’s RMIT University, Melbourne, asked 18 key advertising professionals based in China what they considered to be the future of advertising creativity there. While expressing frustration about the lack of commitment to creativity on the part of their clients, these individuals also predicted that the need for creativity in advertising will increase as the Chinese market becomes more competitive and economic growth continues to slow. Author Julie Bilby—a former ad agency art director and currently senior lecturer and program manager in advertising at RMIT’s school of media and communication—joins Mike Reid, an associate professor, and Linda Brennan, inaugural professor of advertising, in this timely report.

The Role of Location and Visual Saliency in Capturing Attention to Outdoor Advertising:
How Location Attributes Increase the Likelihood for a Driver to Notice a Billboard Ad

What grabs a driver’s attention to billboard advertisements? In 2010, the Traffic Audit Bureau of Media Measurement, Inc. (TAB), the U.S. industry body responsible for assigning media impressions and ratings to each TAB member advertisement location, published a study that found that outdoor advertising more likely would be noticed if it were located closer to the road, on the right-hand side of the road (in the U.S. and other right-hand side driving countries), larger in size, viewable from the center of windshield, and angled appropriately to the road. Building on that work, two researchers explored the roles of both location and visual saliency in capturing drivers’ attention. Visual saliency refers to an advertisement’s ability to stand out and attract attention because of its use of color, shading, and compositional design. They found that visual salience has some, but limited, influence on drivers’ attention, while a billboard’s location contributed more to the understanding of the distribution of attention in complex environments like roadside advertising. The biggest advantage, however, comes from great location coupled with great creative content, conclude authors Rick T. Wilson, an assistant professor at the McCoy College of Business at Texas State University, and Jeff Casper, svp, director of marketing at New York City-based TAB. (At press time, TAB was in the process of rebranding under the name Geopath.)


Spot Length and Unaided Recall in Television:
Optimizing Media Planning Variables in Advertising Breaks

The first paper in JAR’s special package offers some quantitative evidence in support of a long-standing question for marketers: What is the optimum amount of time for a television commercial? Three professors of marketing—Josefa D. Martín‑Santana (Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Spanish Canary islands), and Pedro Reinares-Lara and Eva Reinares-Lara (Madrid’s Universidad Rey Juan Carlos), analyze both the relationship between spot length and unaided recall in a real-world environment and the direct effect on recall of other advertising break-planning variables. These variables include the position of the break in relation to the television program, the degree of advertising clutter in the break—indicating the break’s duration—the spot’s relative position in the break, and primacy and recency effects. But to what extent do these variables moderate how spot length affects recall? Indeed, recall, ultimately depends on the interaction of all planning variables. Among their findings: Spots included in advertising breaks shown midprogram generate three times as much recall as those included in breaks between programs. And, “longer spots—those lasting more than 20 seconds—generate more recall than would seem to correspond proportionally to the increase in length.”

Limited-Interruption Advertising in Digital-Video Content:
An Analysis Compares the Effects of “Midroll” versus “Preroll” Spots and Clutter Advertising

This research investigates the placement of streaming messages in online content, thanks to a collaboration of three academics—Jean Brechman, assistant professor at The College of New Jersey, Steven Bellman, professor at Ehrenberg-Bass Institute/University of South Australia, and Jennifer A. Robinson, lecturer at RMIT University—with researchers from the Austin, TX, firm, MediaScience: Amy Rask, evp of operations and Duane Varan, ceo. “Digital video is growing rapidly, offering new opportunities and formats for television advertising,” the authors write. After testing a variety of placement models, the authors found that, for spots of the same 30-second duration, “Limited-interruption advertising in digital video—with four midroll commercial breaks per hour—delivers greater advertising effectiveness, measured by branded advertising recall, than preroll (before video) advertising.” By comparison, “shorter (15-second) preroll advertisements were just as effective as midroll ads, most likely because their short duration prevents disengagement and advertising avoidance similar to the way shorter limited-interruption breaks do compared to longer commercial breaks.” In both instances, however, “limited-interruption and preroll advertising are more effective than normal ‘clutter’ advertising”—offerings that typically consist of six breaks, with five spots in each break.

Comparing Brand Placements and Advertisements on Brand Recall and Recognition
Messaging need not be compartmentalized into interruptive blocks, but, in fact, may be effectively integrated into actual programming. That is the context of study by University of Texas at Austin’s Davit Davtyan, a doctoral candidate and Isabella Cunningham, the Stan Richards Chair in Advertising and Public Relations; with Kristin Stewart, an assistant professor of marketing at California State University San Marcos. Their research “confirmed that brand placements in television sitcoms elicit lower levels of recall than—but similar levels of recognition to—a 30-second advertisement during a commercial break in the show. Recognizing that “recall plays a major role in consumer choice,” the authors suggest that brand stewards “might enhance the persuasiveness of a message by employing synergistic strategies, such as using a brand placement in combination with a commercial.” Moreover, the write “combinations can be used as a cost-effective alternative to buying two spots in a commercial break…such multisource promotional strategies might result in enhanced elaboration on the messages.”

Can Brand Users Really Remember Advertising More Than Nonusers?
Testing an Empirical Generalization across Six Advertising Awareness Measures

Research has shown that advertising awareness is systematically higher among a brand’s users than nonusers. That body of work, however “has been confined to measures where a brand name forms part of the cuing material,” write Ehrenberg-Bass Institute authors Kelly Vaughan, research associate, Virginia Beal, senior researcher, and Jenni Romaniuk, research professor and associate director (international) and co-executive editor of the JAR. Taking a broader overview of recall, this analysis “across six different measures, which extends cues to execution and media prompts, shows the user bias in memory for advertising is not a measurement artifact. It is, in fact, a real phenomenon, occurring under a wide range of conditions.” Specifically, the study demonstrates, “irrespective of whether the brand is present or absent in the advertising awareness questions, brand users systematically remember advertising for that brand more than non brand users.” This has implications for creative design, branding, and pretesting, “particularly with advertising that primarily aims to attract nonusers” as well as for assessing global and cross-platform advertising. The authors add: “All advertising awareness measures are shown to be biased to users, and, therefore, aggregate-level metrics may inaccurately imply a campaign is less successful in countries where market shares are lower, since the user bases are much smaller. This could lead marketers to make unnecessary modifications to campaigns to compensate for perceived lower advertising awareness.”

ARF David Ogilvy Awards
Masters of Insight: When Marketing Art Meets Marketing Science
Adapted Excerpts of Winning Case Studies from the 2016 David Ogilvy Awards

Nestlé’s Lean Cuisine, crowned the Grand-Gold, leads the pack of Gold winners, among them: Boeing, The Clorox Co.’s Kingsford Charcoal, and Ontario Women’s Directorate. The JAR features expanded summaries of these exceptional campaigns focused on engaging their audiences.


Coming in December: How Audience Targeting Works in Advertising
JAR Co-Executive Editor (Global) Jenni Romaniuk looks ahead to the December issue’s special package on “How Audience Targeting Works in Advertising,” summarizing the rich history of research on this topic published in this journal over several decades.