Themes in The Feldwick Factor

Paul Feldwick

This is the final Feldwick Factor. So I will take the liberty of posing the question myself, which is: What themes have emerged in these columns, and what does it all mean for the advertising business?

Over the last three-and-a-half years, these columns have covered a bewildering variety of topics, but very loosely they can be classified under three headings. There are naturally quite a few grey areas and overlaps, but using my own highly subjective coding system there are 12 columns in category one, 11 in category two and 16 in category three.

Category One feels to me like the realm of 'eternal truths' – theories and evidence about 'how things work', in so far as we can usefully generalise (often not much). I've written here about things like brand theories, equilibrium share-of-voice, the effects of excessive discounting, the role of emotion versus information in decision-making, the effects of repeated exposures. I've used sources such as Binet and Field's analysis of the IPA database, or the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute's findings about buying behaviour, or some of the mass of psychological evidence that is now accessible to us. Not always original, but I said things that I thought deserved repeating, things which are not always as well-known as they should be, or are forgotten in the heat of the moment. None of these findings is beyond challenge, but as long as they stand as good enough rules of thumb, they provide a solid foundation for knowledge and practical decision-making.