The burst is dead ... long live the burst!

Paul Dyson

The history of media planning has seen a number of phases – most recently continuity, which at its extreme would suggest that it is most efficient to spread the media budget equally across 52 weeks of the year. This appears to sound the death knell for the advertising burst – a concentration of the media budget into chunks of, typically, four to six weeks – and this has certainly been the case with a growth in continuity plans or hybrid strategies such as 'pulsing'. However, our experience over recent years suggests that the theory behind continuity advertising can still result in a strong argument for burst advertising.


To understand the reasoning behind burst advertising and why it has been the cornerstone of media planning, we have to go back through time. The history of the burst is tied in with the history of media planning; and 40 years of planning have seen the rise and fall of different theories.