The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Misplaced Effectiveness …
November 26, 2008, 7:19 am
Filed under: Comment

Wood And Trees By Aremac

I am a huge believer in being able to quantify results because if you don’t do that, you can’t expect to get the money you believe you deserve.

I must admit in Asia, I’ve found it quite difficult to get clients to quantify their business expectations – not because of their ability – but because out here the role of marketing tends to be more about ‘producing stuff’, than ‘producing results’.

In other words the focus of the average brand manager is to create whatever promotional material their sales teams wants [demands] rather than drive ideas that can motivate the masses to do what ultimately their business [and their customers] want.

This situation might sound like a dream come true for certain ad agencies but it’s this lack of responsibility that I believe has contributed to the low value many companies regard adland with.

I know there are many people out there who think ‘awareness’ is a valid metric but I don’t.

Of course awareness can contribute to a brands success but that should never be enough of a strategic target because ultimately, clients hire us to make them more money and if we fail to recognize that – and put in place targets that can demonstrate that – we are failing our industry.

Instant Awareness By Cahobby 13

You see I don’t believe brand value and sales value need be mutually exclusive – infact in these hard economic times, I’d argue it is irresponsible to treat them as separate entities.

This doesn’t mean ads have to feature great big yellow fucking starbursts or pricing on every ad – it means embracing every discipline within marketing, including the sales, distribution and R&D channels because contrary to what some in adland think, they have as big an influence on how well your 30 seconds of CGI glory works as anything else.

Anyway, I’m going off tangent and whilst I’ve just said a lot of Asian advertising has little or no definable targets for its communication, not every company acts this way – which is why what I’m going to write now may seem abit mad … but hey that’s something you should be used to by now.

Calculating Retrenchments By Esthr

Right, an issue that is bothering me is organizations obsession with measurability.

Believe it or not, I’m not contradicting what I said at the beginning of this post … the issue I’m talking about is that too many organisations regard ‘measurability’ as the most important element of anything they do, rather than making the important things, measurable.

Am I making clear here?

Just incase, what I’m trying to say is that too many clients care more about measuring how many people see their campaign rather than what the communication actually achieves.

What this means is that companies are getting commended for their mass market mainstream communication strategies [ie: brainwashing] rather than rating it’s actual effectiveness which is probably contributing to the traditional approach to mass marketing and communication despite almost everyone in the industry accepting it’s effectiveness is not as powerful as it used to be or it should.

To be honest, I’m amazed companies seem to be happy paying continually higher and higher rates for less and less audience – but I guess when you are in a culture of risk adversity [despite what all the companies may say] it’s what is bound to happen.

Emperors New Clothes By Ecpica

One thing that really upsets me with all this is that the industry mags are seemingly perpetuating this madness by running columns that talk about ‘which ad has had the greatest recall’.

Week after week we see bland brands with huge budgets getting labeled as the most ‘effective’ interms of recall when the reality is either [1] that ‘recall’ is having little benefit interms of sales or [2] they own so much of the key distribution channels, that they’d get the majority of their sales with little or no advertising anyway.

Until the industry stops its obsession with blanket measurability and starts focusing on what actually needs to be measured, we’re going to continue down the slippery slope of corporate irrelevance and that’s a terrible thing because adland has the power to make a bigger difference to companies, people and society than every brand and management consultant put together.

25 Comments so far
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this is more fucking like it campbell. dont get too happy its still shit but its ever so slightly less shit than the bollocks youve been producing so far this week. the day clients understand that reach and frequency doesnt automatically equal sales and profits the day fucking media bastards start having to start telling the fucking truth and working hard to keep their overinflated egos

Comment by andy@cynic

I am aware of this blog but I’m not buying any of it.

Comment by John

If a marketing tactic succeeds but nobody can measure it, did it happen?

Comment by John

I pontificated at some length about this a couple of years ago

Comment by John

I think Andy and John nailed it with their comments but this is a great post and a return to the form you teased us with last week.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that the multinationals are launching new “tools” that claim to represent effectiveness because they know if this issue was debated in the open, they would suffer the most.

Maybe we should do a campaign to shareholders and inform them their money is being wasted? Then with the stockmarket falls, they are unlikely to have any money left to complain about. 🙂

Comment by Pete

But what do you really think of Media people Andy?

Nice to see your conspiracy side coming through Pete – you’ll fit in perfectly 🙂

And Dodds, you are the marketing Yoda. You should really go to the Doctor for your green skin!

Comment by Rob

A few months ago I was invited to a private presentation by some execs at one of Australia’s leading TV networks. They wanted to show me and my boss some new technologies and subsequent research results they had achieved. In short, they were tracking people’s brainwaves (measuring actual engagement) during television programs and studying what happens in the lead up to, during and at the conclusion of ad breaks.

It was one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen. Their argument for this research was that they were beginning to question the effectiveness of some of the media planning done by media agencies. Example: Just cause your ad runs 1st to break during Ugly Betty, does that actually have the same impact if it were first to break during Bold & The Beautiful? The results were really interesting because it showed that it all comes down to how engaged viewers are to the show at that very instant. Some of the lowest ratings shows (read: cheaper for clients to buy space on) actually had much higher rates of brand engagement and recall.

I guess the point I’m making is that it just goes to show how fucked up the system is – to your point Rob – where media agencies and clients will go for the big hard number to justify their actions and spending instead of thinking about how better to positively engage their consumer. I think awareness is the most bullshit measure there is… I’m aware of U2, doesn’t mean I think favorably of them.

Comment by Age

age – that’s awesome and scary at the same time. awesome ‘cos “prime time” just becomes fantastically redundant. scary at the thought that content will just be reduced even further so that all ads have high brain engagement thingies.

can someone come up with an easily quantifiable pie-chart graph system technology business to justify art and sell it please? it seems to work for the miriad of consumer junk that is out there, i think it’s high time that it apply to the abstract for a while 🙂

Comment by lauren

Excellent post Robert though there are reasons for effectiveness blurring that go beyond just corporation job and income protection.

Success or failure can rarely be attributed to one discipline which is why companies seek out metrics that allow them to demonstrate their specific involvement in a clients campaign.

I am not saying this is right, however if you define success or failure purely by client sales, then the success of your organisations is as much in other parties hands as your own.

Of course if communication companies worked together and looked at the bigger picture as well as their own micro involvement this would not be such a problem, but we know packs of wolves are more accomodating than most advetising companies in this regard.

And Age, I believe Robert went to a similar demonstration a few years ago and a very humouress outcome came from it. You should ask him what brainwaves said about the companies who were the biggest users of television advertising.

Comment by Lee Hill

I think I’ve told Age about the brainwave demonstration … but incase I haven’t, a company invited a bunch of guys to check out how they can read people’s engagement levels in ads via their brainwave monitor.

When the ads started – engagement levels were generally quite – however when the brand logo/rational sell came in, everything fell away, but the best bit was the client who was there didn’t realise [or didn’t want to realise] the real implication of this finding, which is why to a shocked audience he announced,

“The brand logo has to be brought forward into the commercial before they get bored”.


Comment by Rob

Are you sitting on the fence Lee? 🙂

Great post Rob. Lee raises good points but I still think there’s a lot of people in the communication industry who hide behind ambiguous data to try and look good to people who are not good or simply don’t care.

Comment by Bazza

Age – who said that brainwaves “prove” engagement, the agency or a neuroscientist? Brainwaves prove activity – what that activity is, is harder to tell.

Comment by John

Top point Mr Dodds, though there is probably some research that shows that there is a certain amount of brainwave activity that relates to ‘interest levels’ though knowing adland, they were probably wrote the research, ha!

Comment by Rob

quite around here. nice to see every fucker has come to their senses or have more important things to do with their time. like brush the hairs off their fucking jumpers. how are you going to grab our attention again campbell? show us some of your planning brilliance

Comment by andy@cynic

geez andy, 8 hours since rob’s last post and you’re worse than a 3 year-old with shit in his nappy… go find a rattle.


Comment by lauren

nappies? shit? rattles?

stop talking dirty to me lauren im a married man

Comment by andy@cynic

What about misused effectiveness? You know what I’m talking about Rob.

Comment by Billy Whizz

are those the dying cries of a desperate man? sorry billy im being a rude fuck arent i. i meant are those the dying cries of a desperate little boy. now get back to work, youre not off our payroll yet 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

You have to promise me Billy that you’ll still come on this blog and give your macho backchat.

Jemma x

Comment by Jemma King

You mean sexy backchat?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Macho 🙂

Comment by Jemma King


Comment by Billy Whizz

Good evening. It’s late, and Eva is sat over there, that’s right over there; doing a powerpoint presentation about something or whatever. It’s late, I’m tipsy (it’s what I do) and I’d thought I’d pop over and say hello.


The end.

Comment by Marcus

Doddsy, good point re: proving engagement.
The only thing i can say is that there was a correlation between high brain wave readings and ad and message recall. Again though, ad recall doesn’t mean they liked it… just that they were paying attention more.

Comment by Age

marcus for fucking president. finally someone on here who knows how to live. if watching someone doing a powerpoint pres if fucking living. no wonder he is getting pissed as a fart

Comment by andy@cynic

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