Editorial: The shock of the old

Judie Lannon

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We are so overwhelmed with newness in the shape of technological possibilities that some old truths can come as a shock. The results of a massive analysis of the IPA database by Les Binet and Peter Field, involving over 1000 cases, have provided very clear guidelines on how to allocate the communications budget between different media. But almost more important than the ratios are the reasons why. Digital advertising provides a short-term hit. It effectively acts as sales promotion – almost invariably based on rational claims, offers or arguments. But a series of short-term hits doesn't add up to a long-term effect and it is the long-term effect that builds brand equity, increases margins and reduces price elasticity. Most significantly, that long-term effect needs to be underpinned by an emotional appeal, and visual media are best at tugging the heartstrings. So focused are we on chasing volume – and digital can be very effective in stimulating volume – that it's easy to forget that margin is where the profit lies.