Are So-called Successful Advertising Campaigns Really Successful?1

Steuart Henderson Britt
Northwestern University

To what extent do advertising agencies know whether their advertising campaigns are successful? Even more to the point, to what extent do agencies really set specific objectives for their campaigns? And in attempting to judge the success of a campaign, are the 'proofs of success' relevant to the objectives stated?

For the first time, public statements by advertising agencies of campaign objectives and 'proofs of success' of various campaigns have been set forth publicly in a form that permits systematic investigation of this question. The United States Trade Center for Scandinavia held an exhibition in Stockholm, Sweden, during May 1967, that featured advertisements from successful American advertising campaigns. One Swedish advertising agency, Annonsbyrå, prepared and distributed a special booklet that contained descriptions of 135 'successful advertising campaigns' created by 40 American advertising agencies.