Media Modeling: Simple Addition or Imaginary Numbers?

Andrew Green,
Insight, OMD USA
and
Tim Foley,
Insight, Omnicom Media Group

INTRODUCTION

Research is as much about fashion as it is about real progress in our understanding of how advertising works. Several years ago in the United States the fashion of the moment was how TV optimizers would transform the way television was scheduled and bought. While progress has been made in both the technology of optimization and in its application to the unique market conditions of this country, few would admit today that much has actually been transformed.

Over the years, fashionable attention has shifted. Once upon a time, the Holy Grail was the determination of the right level of effective frequency for an advertising message. When 40 years of research came up with 40 different answers, people moved on. At other times focus has switched from developing qualitative ‘scores’ for different spot lengths and print sizes to precision targeting through single-source surveys and on ‘passive’ measurement of presence in a room with a television set on.