Comments on J. Scott Armstrong's 'Evidence-based advertising: an application to persuasion'

The following section features three sets of commentaries by Les Carlson, John R. Rossiter and David W. Stewart, discussing some of the controversial points in J. Scott Armstrong's preceding paper Evidence-based advertising: an application to persuasion, followed by a reply to the Comments by Armstrong.

Tastes great but less filling (than it could have been)

Les Carlson

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This essay is an overview of a body of work by J. Scott Armstrong that represents considerable scholarly initiative and effort. It provides a roadmap of his progress over a number of years in generating a series of advertising principles that reflect what we know and don't know about how advertising may 'work' in the persuasion process. As such, this article provides a valuable benchmark for alluding to the key tactical criteria that might aid practitioners in developing effective advertising. Certain of these criteria (i.e. the principles) are also accompanied by a discussion of related 'evidence-based' empirical research which supports at least some of these principles. Other principles are offered as examples where additional research authentication is needed and if conducted, might verify further their veracity. That is, academic research effort could be targeted at (dis)proving principles for which there is little or no empirical substantiation. Specifically, rather than focusing on resolving contradictory research findings, what is needed is research support for yet to be proven principles. For these principles, the lack of empirical support exists because they have yet to be subjected to the level of extensive research scrutiny that appears to be characteristic of some of the principles.