The Feldwick Factor: Frequency and effectiveness of TV ads

Paul Feldwick

Conventional wisdom says an ad must be seen three times before it's effective: is this still true (and was it ever)?

Marketing manager, Dairy Products

This idea originated in a 1972 lecture by Herb Krugman, head of research at General Electric. He took a lively interest in how advertising works, much of his thinking anticipating what is now known as Low Attention Processing. He was trying to make sense of some experiments which appeared to show that when people were repeatedly exposed to an ad, measures of learning and attention peaked at the third exposure and then declined, while attitude change peaked at the third exposure but then stayed level. Krugman suggested that on the first exposure, the viewer would be curious (‘What is it?’), at the second they would evaluate the relevance of the ad to them (‘What of it?’), and the third exposure would be the first ‘true reminder’ - though also where the viewer might begin to disengage.