Exploring Advertising Wearout

John Walling and Sian Owen, THE ARS Group, examine wearout's effect on brand share

Over the last few decades, the advertising industry has seen an ongoing and complex dialogue surrounding the debate on advertising wearout. Does it occur? If so, how fast? How should wearout be defined? Is it a function of individual advertising executions or of entire campaigns?

Much of the research on wearout seeks to understand advertisings micro effect, or how individual consumers respond to advertising repetition. Usually recall, awareness and other memory-based metrics are used in this research to measure an ads ability to convey information about a brand. The basic problem with using such research to evaluate advertising effectiveness is that consumers ability to remember the contents of a commercial has little to do with their likelihood of buying the product.