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On the value of evidence-based advertising

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Monday 21 May 2012, 14:00
LT 01 Management School

Highly regarded academic, J Scott Armstrong, of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania will be presenting this joint seminar, sponsored by the Department of Marketing and the Lancaster Centre for Forecasting

Evidence-based advertising principles conflict with existing beliefs and practices about advertising. None of the 195 “evidence-based principles” for persuasive advertising were found in a convenience sample of popular texts and handbooks on advertising.

The primary use of the evidence-based principles is to create persuasive advertising. It can also be used to decide which ads to run for a campaign. Most decisions regarding which ad to run are based on unaided judgments of either experts or non-experts. We examined ways to improve upon unaided judgment. Raters were hired to complete a self-training module lasting less than two hours. Then they rated print ads against the relevant principles with the help of the Adprin Audit freeware at This procedure takes less than an hour per pair of ads and we used five raters per pair of ads.

The ratings were combined across principles using the index method; this provides points for principles properly applied, deducts points for principles violated, and sums the points to yield an index score for each ad. The ad with the highest score is predicted to be more effective in each pair. The tests are being conducted using matched pairs of print ads from Which Ad Pulled Best. Initial findings have shown improvements in the ability to select the most effective ad.


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