The Advertising Magnifier Effect: An MTV Study

Todd Cunningham

Amy Shea Hall

Charles Young

Engagement has recently become a major topic of discussion in the advertising industry. In July 2005 things got serious when the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), along with American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), kicked off an initiative to put engagement front and center in the research and measurement process. In March 2006 the ARF unveiled a working definition, encouraging the industry to add findings to help clarify how engagement might become a measurement standard.

The ARF has defined engagement as "turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context." While this definition may undergo change as those in the industry contribute thinking on approaches to this new metric, the need for an expanded, more customer-centric view of advertising appears to be unanimous. Few would argue with the premise that an "engaged" viewer has more value than a viewer grabbing a beer and chatting with his spouse while advertisements play on the flat panel-despite increasing evidence that even "backgrounded" experiences have some subconscious effects, as outlined in Wendy Gordon's (2006) recent article, "What Do Consumers Do Emotionally with Advertising."