Introduction: What we do not understand about how advertising works

From hyper-targeted social media advertising reaching even the world's most niche customer segments, to being tattooed on someone's forehead as a walking and breathing billboard - never have there been so many avenues for brands to reach their audiences as there are today. With the increasing complexity of the marketing landscape, our lack of understanding of how advertising truly works is growing ever more painful. Granted, data tells us there is no doubt that advertising works in terms of increasing sales. A simple regression analysis is sufficient to connect specific media inputs to specific sales outputs. However, what happens in between ad exposure and point-of-purchase remains, in many ways, a mystery. We are still miles away from understanding through which cognitive, emotional and motivational mechanisms advertising takes root. How do different types of advertising media operate and interact to sway a customer's purchase decisions towards a particular direction?