Examining Effects of Advertising Campaign Publicity in a Field Study

Hyun Seung Jin
Kansas State University

Xinshu Zhao
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Soontae An
Kansas State University

In an article entitled "Commercials Become News and the Airtime is Free," Philip Dusenberry, a former chairman of the BBDO advertising agency, told The New York Times (Rothenberg, 1990):

The advertising in news takes on more value because it's being mentioned in a non-advertising context…. Anytime you release a new advertising campaign, you would be wise to bring in your PR people and ask: Is there anything in this that can stretch it beyond our media expenditure?

Major newspapers report on the day-to-day business of advertising. More than 3,000 news items about advertising campaigns were found in four major metropolitan daily newspapers over a three-year span, and The New York Times publishes about 700 advertising stories per year-almost two items per day on average (Pasadeos, Phelps, and Lamme, 2000). The mere launch of a new campaign is often deemed newsworthy, and the topic of product advertising was frequently covered in the news media.