Predicting advertising execution effectiveness: scale development and validation
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Purpose – This paper aims to present a commentary on the Armstrong et al. (2015) proposals to use checklists of Armstrong’s “advertising principles” to predict the effectiveness of alternative advertising executions and their tests of validity using paired ads with day-after recall scores. Design/methodology/approach – This paper discusses literature from anecdotal business journalism, cognitive science and behavioral economics that attempt to explain and accurately predict high-impact advertising. The commentary considers the value of using checklists and the relevancy complexity theory for examining whether or not checklists versus other tools are useful for accurately predicting advertising effectiveness. Findings – Anecdotal reports and scientific studies using true experiments support the practical benefits of advertising executives referring to advertising principles in the form of checklists when deciding which advertisement to run. Armstrong, Du, Green and Graefe (ADGG) provide a useful early warning tool that is useful for indicating ads that will not be effective, but their checklist method is unlikely to indicate which ads will have high impact. Researchers and executives should create and test the efficacy of configurations of content and design for identifying highly effective ads; testing should be done in clutter and using behavioroid measures (not seven-point scales); recall measures are inadequate proxies for behavior. Practical implications – By calling attention to the possibilities of using the persuasive advertising principles to test the ability to select specific ads that will most influence behavior such as purchases, ADGG offer a valuable contribution. Too often, advertisers and other decision makers ignore useful readily available information; creating tools useful for improving the quality of decision-making is missing in many marketing management contexts. ADGG indicate that such a tool is possible avoiding ads that are likely to be poor performing, advertising executions. Originality/value – This paper serves to emphasize the substantial value in using rigorous checklists as a step in making complex decisions such as advertising execution selections to avoid undesirable outcomes.
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