• Brand advertising works mostly through creative publicity, not persuasion
  • It leaves and/ or reinforces longer-term memory traces and added associations for the brand in the individual consumer’s mind. In doing so, advertising helps to maintain and perhaps increase the number of consumers to whom the brand is “salient”, i.e. in their consideration set as a brand they might buy.
  • The more traditional view is that advertising works by persuading people that the brand is different or better than a similar competitor. Or that it has special emotional “values”, and that hence they should buy it. There is little systematic evidence that advertising operates like this. Nor does this persuasive view explain why so much advertising is used or needed.

Key Findings

  • The purpose of advertising is to remind and attract the vast bulk of the customer base who are light, occasional buyers.
  • Instead of trying to persuade experienced consumers that every advertised brand is better or best, we should accept that advertising mostly needs to refresh, and may occasionally enhance acceptance of the brand as one to buy and/or to consider.
  • Emotional, entertaining advertisements that creatively publicise the brand are most successful. They work by refreshing memories and thereby nudging up purchase probabilities.
  • There is no evidence that branding detracts from an advertisement’s likeability
  • Ad recall and likeability scores for 15-second advertisements are approximately 80% that of 30-second advertisements. But 15- and 30-second advertisements are equal on correct brand identification levels.

Best Practice

  • Create neuro-rich, likeable advertising – include: music or a jingle, images that attract attention, strong use of colour, words such as taglines, key information that is spoken or sung, faces or animals
  • Advertising should draw on both rational and emotional processing – create advertising that evokes an emotional reaction
  • Create advertising that cuts through, gets noticed and gets remembered
  • Ensure that creative does not overwhelm the brand.
  • Prominence of brand – make sure your advertising always looks like you and that the brand is easily identified by those you have paid to reach
  • Brand early, within first 1/3rd of ad; at least 4 times in 30 sec; with at least 1 verbal mention; no large (>10 sec) gaps without the brand present
  • Avoid: the brand being static for long periods; saying but not showing brand; a big branding ‘bang’ at the end