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22 November 2022
The ad wear-out myth
Wearout & decayCreativity & research
Ads don’t go stale as quickly as we assume, new research from System1 suggests, aligning with a body of research demonstrating that commitment to a campaign in both execution and measurement are necessary for effectiveness.
Why it matters
Though it makes intuitive sense that an ad campaign might get stale, audiences simply don’t see it that way. It's marketers who live and breathe a campaign far more deeply than audiences ever will.
“Older campaigns and IP are often a brand’s greatest and most neglected assets”, says Jon Evans, chief customer officer at System1.
In fact, repeated exposure is a vital component for building mental availability. The research should help build a stronger case for sticking with a campaign idea to maximise its effectiveness and squeeze the most commercial benefit out of creative work, chiming with emerging evidence that advertising needs a creative commitment.
“There is no sell-by date for advertising,” System1 explains in a statement. The research agency found consistent performance regardless of ads' age, according to its proprietary Test Your Ad database, which studied the gap between an ad's test date and the original date aired.
The same goes for individual ads. Repeated tests of 100 ads first aired in Q1 2020 (just before the Covid-19 pandemic) have shown no meaningful change in scores over the last two years.
What’s more, as the above chart shows, System1 finds evidence of “wear-in”. Those that deploy Fluent Devices, such as GEICO’s gecko or “You’ve had your Weetabix”, grew their star rating (an internal measure of effectiveness).
US marketers are getting it right, says System1. Ads generally run for longer than in the UK, and the higher the ad scores, the longer it runs, with 5-Star US ads enjoying a 25% longer lifespan on average than ineffective 1-Star ads.
Reuse and recycle
“The myth of wear-out in ads has a hidden cost,” System1's chief customer officer argues.
“Good ads are cut down in their prime when they still have so much to offer commercially. UK marketers in particular need to realise that reusing ads and running campaigns for longer isn’t just efficient, it’s effective too.”