Universal advertising formula


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19 Replies to “Universal advertising formula”

  1. What about medium in the equation? Maybe that’s included in creativity perhaps, or is it budget divided by medium + message
    I’m not sure, but I feel it should be in there somewhere

  2. Hmmm, on one level it could be argued that budget + message x creative = cost (or preferably ‘investment’).
    Value is not automatically created by investing money on a message amplified by creativity. Although of course I think we would agree it should be.
    I reckon there must be a neat small tweak to this one Richard but the principle is sound. I think the equation should be a formula that allows for future potential exponential value as a result of the investment. I need to think about this one a bit more obviously.

  3. I think your earlier equations (planning cliches) were better.
    Having said that, seeing as we are strategists you have to ask where strategy fits. For my money it’s in message.
    Assuming strategy is effective I think growth is better outcome than value.
    My favourite one of these was from Tim Delaney who had

  4. I think it might be better that the penultimate element was creativity not creative.
    I want to dramatise that the economic role of creativity is to multiply the budget.
    Pot Noodle (when it was with us mind) spent half the budget of Walkers but achieved the same level of advertising awareness (crude measure I know).

  5. Nice.
    I would think it would end up something like:
    (Message X Creativity) + (Medium X Bugdet)= Value
    But yours is far more understandable!

  6. Formulas like this never work. There are always exceptions. Moreover this one implies that an infinite budget leads to infinite value (reagrdless of message and creativity).

  7. But they are interesting because they make us think abot the roels and responsibilities of the different components that we manipulate.
    Infinite budget would not lead to infinite value but who has an infinite budget? What this suggests is that the first element of effect is the money you take to the market. Big budgets buy big exposure regardless of message and cretive potency.
    But big budgets can be met by people who use the money more efficiently and I am suggesting that it is the power of creativity that multiplies budgets. So if the brand you want to beat has a SOV of 10% on $/£/€10m then an advertiser that has creative work that is twice as efficient can match them with half the money. In the UK we gave Pot Noodle the same presence in the snack market (measured by share of mind) on half the budget of Walkers crisps. Walkers had a great advertising vehicle but ours was more Pot Noodle’s (the slag of all snacks) was more potent.
    Mucking about with formulas like this enlightens us all.

  8. I was being a little provocative of course but at heart there is a serious point.
    While I’m all for measuring results and testing hypotheses, I worry that we marketers get pressured into quantifying the unquantifiable to appease the finance director. Moreover if you do this, you risk ridicule from accountants and further devaluation of marketing’s importance to business.
    We all agree that creativity and message are good things and that spending the optimal budget is also good. But can we measure creativity? We can only measure the result in sales (and of course that is fraught with danger because there may be changes in non advertising elements of marketing such as distribution and store design which also have a huge impact on sales.
    Even if we ignore those, there are other (arguably unquantifiable) variables also in play such as the respective receptivity of certain people/groups to messages, to creativity and to budget.
    Unless you were marketing identical products to the same group of identical people by utilising different combinations of budget/creativity and message, you are comparing apples and oranges.
    When I was at business school, the best justification for being there came from a visiting alumnus who was an A&R man who explained that he had got his MBA so that he could tell the aforementioned FD where to go. I think that colours my thinking – that and realising how close I came to being an accountant!

  9. Ah yes, and of course you are right. We commodify what we do at our peril (something I fear the media strategists are hell bent on doing) because at one level there is a total unpredictability about advertising if it is any good. You can only tell what the value of the £1m semtex budget for Bravia’s ‘son of balls’ somewhat after the event when you count up the viewings on you tube.
    It would be a foolish person that actually tried to work anything about using my little formula (remember I only have a CSE in Maths – BTW people lament the death of O levels but CSEs are little remembered and have real class – they showed that you were properly thick) but it is has illustrative potency I think. Interestingly I think that Millward Browns Awareness Index is a measure of creativity for these puposes.

  10. “I think Millward Browns Awareness Index is a measure of creativity for these puposes” …
    That would give us
    budget + message x AI = value
    not many of us could live with that.
    Being more pedantic seeing as the AI is a measure of awareness indexed against rating points (which is budget… sort of) you’d end up with….
    budget + message x Awareness/ratings = value
    and depending on where the brackets go (having just helped my son with his GCSE maths) we would have budget and ratings sort-of cancelling each other out, giving us
    so that message x awareness = value
    which puts no value on creativity at all …. none of us could love with that.
    (it could be my dodgy maths though, no CSE to be proud of…)

  11. Hmm, I think John/Richard are right there. No measure (no matter how well thought out) can account for everything. How do you factor in “Web 2.0” influences or ad hype in working out the effectiveness of an ad?..etc
    Maybe we should go back to three simple equations.
    Is ad > good?
    Is ad > effective?
    If yes, then proceed.

  12. An awareness index seems to me to be a much derided but rather helpful measure of advertising efficiency. Boring and pointless if you use it as an action standard and regard 1% above the norm as good, but rather powerful if your AI is up in the teens and early 20s like Pot Noodle usually was. My experience is that potent creativity tended to score the big numbers and that agencies that hated it were usully producing inconsequential work – like the ones that fear pre-testing.
    Please don’t take this equation so seriously – I just want to start communicating the power of great creativity to make the money work harder because I really believe that.
    If you read Russell’s post on his schtick you will see that the original Honda client brief was to increase brand consideration on a progressively reduced budget.
    Creativity makes economic sense.

  13. No-one’s argueing with you, creativity amplifies value.
    But I don’t think the AI as a measure of creativity doesn’t work, it could goood buying is just as effective, or it could be naff creativity for a great brand …. or any other reason.
    I like the formula as a way of starting the debate…the replies shouldn’t be taken that seriously either

  14. So the word experience never even entered the equasion? Then advertising really is only about the message. The story.
    which means advertising is doomed. Or will evolve into something very different.
    Storytelling without Experience will never lead to value no matter how you add it up.

  15. think there are 14 volumes of IPA effectiveness papers that would disagree with you Dave
    and that isn’t to suggest that experience isn’t important, nor that advertising is doomed unless agencies embrace a wider experience… it’s just to say advertising work in creating value

  16. Greetings from the wonderful world of Millward Brown….
    and thanks for the positive comments on the AI!
    However, I’d be uncomfortble with the AI being taken as the single measure of the creativity.
    It is a great measure of the impact, or branded memorability, or cut though of the ad (choose whichever term you prefer!) – but just as important is the communication and how it is conveyed…Gordon Brown used to refer to these as the blades of a pair of scissors – you need both for the ad to work.
    But, yes, if you have two broadly similar ads – to the same strategy – for a brand, and one has an AI of 10, and the other a 5, we’d expect the one with an AI of 10 to have a stronger effect on sales for the same budget. Which is another way of saying that the strength of the creativity can have a huge effect on the sales effectiveness of an ad.
    And while I’m banging on about Gordon, he also peddled a good line about how advertising memories interacted with brand experience. he did a good experiment showing that the effect of seeing an ad and trying the product was far greater than the effect of either one alone.

  17. Ah yes Ehrenberg again – the reinforcing theory of advertising.
    But don’t be so coy about the AI – the message you talk about is already factored in.
    Good to hear from the Warwick jury.

  18. Hmm…yes, but I’d say there was a substantial difference between the ‘brand story’ that needs to be put across, and the creativity with which that story is brought to life….
    But, it is true to say that IPA award winners on average have twice the average AI….

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