The degree to which audiences can recall advertising is driven by the quality of the creative, the channel selection and congruence with surrounding content. These issues complement the more instinctively understood influence of pre-existing familiarity with the brand and repetition of the ad.


Recall and recognition are the implicit and explicit ways in which audiences bring to mind brand name, message and news (or fail to do so). It is a metric that advertisers often use to pre-test the effectiveness of ads.

Key insights

1. Media context drives ad recall and recognition

A meta-analysis of 70 different studies focussed on advertising recall and recognition found that high media involvement, greater congruency between media and advertising content and content liking drove advertising memorisation. However, highly arousing humorous, violent, sexual and suspenseful content had a negative effect. The analysis also found that context exerted a greater impact on unfamiliar brands so particular care should be taken when launching new brands or trying to reach new, non-user target audiences not aware of the brand.