UK Ad Data ‘Inadequate and Biased’, Says Newspaper Marketer

08 September 2003

Maureen Duffy, chief executive of Britain’s recently formed Newspaper Marketing Agency, didn’t mince her words.

Current technologies used to measure advertising effectiveness are “hopelessly inadequate” and biased towards TV, she told Friday’s Advertising Festival in Disneyland, Paris, as delegates’ eyebrows arched skyward.

Duffy called on the UK ad industry to get its act together and harness new technology. “It’s clear that the industry considers current methods of measuring press campaigns to be hopelessly inadequate. That’s why today I want to issue a clarion call to the major research companies, to creative and media agencies and to major clients to work with the NMA to agree a new methodology to pilot on real campaigns next year.”

Present methodology is “geared towards TV”, Duffy complained, citing the NMA's own research project earlier this year which purportedly revealed client concern over lack of proof that TV is an ad-effective medium.

She named no names but most UK delegates would have been aware that one of the most popular ad-tracking systems (used by Milward Brown) relies heavily on viewer/reader recall.

Railed Duffy: “It is somewhat ironic that newspapers take the majority share of advertising revenues by some considerable margin, yet lack the robust effectiveness measurement of that younger market – television. I would like to hear from those companies which want to make a real difference rather than simply whinge that the current methods are failing us.”

Commented Millward Brown’s joint-managing director Sue Gardner: “We shifted our recall tracking towards a multimedia approach about four years ago. If tracking systems come out in favour of television, it is because that is where the advertising money is spent. It is not as simple as saying there is no technique available.”

Data sourced from: Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff