Generalizations about Advertising Effectiveness in Markets

Gerard J. Tellis
Marshall School of Business University of Southern California


“Advertising effectiveness in markets” refers to market response to a firm's (or a brand's) advertising. I define “market response” as the firm's (or brand's) choices, sales, or market share in real market contexts. Researchers have also examined the effects of advertising on consumer awareness, attitudes, beliefs, and intentions. These effects typically have been examined in laboratory contexts and are not the focus of this review.

Researchers probably have examined the effect of advertising from the time mass advertising first began more than a hundred years ago. Scientific research, however, began to accumulate in the last 50 years (Tellis, 2004, 2007). We can classify this work into two broad paradigms of research: behavioral research and field research. Behavioral research typically uses theater or lab experiments to address the effects of advertising on mental responses of individuals such as awareness, attitudes, beliefs, and intentions. Field research, on the other hand, uses field experiments or econometric models to assess the effects of advertising on such market responses as brand choice, sales, or market share. This review summarizes what has been learnt from this latter paradigm of research.