Editors’ Note

There is a rich body of scholarship—nearly 60 years’ worth—on context effects in advertising, yet significant gaps remain. Most of the literature involves television, but with the digital marketplace in constant flux, advertisers and marketers risk missing key opportunities to be more effective at promoting their products and services across a variety of media. In 2017, in response to renewed interest among its members—and as part of its ongoing How Advertising Works initiative—the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) addressed context effects by first reviewing the literature to date and then conducting its own original experiments with partnering firms. Around that time, other research also was in progress. In this essay, Horst Stipp, executive vice president of research and innovation at the ARF, describes the mixed results from the earlier body of work and explains how the more recent studies (2015–2018) provide new insights to advance theory and practice in this area. He concludes by offering suggestions for marketers on how this latest research can help them benefit from context in advertising.