Fifty years using the wrong model of advertising1

Robert Heath and Paul Feldwick
University of Bath School of Management

INTRODUCTION: THE INFORMATION PROCESSING MODEL OF ADVERTISING

In 1999 a launch TV commercial for a snack food product aimed at teenagers was pre-tested. The commercial consisted of a pop song with meaningless gibberish lyrics, accompanying a series of surreally linked and sometimes bizarre scenes. In each scene someone is eating the product, but the ad contained no information as such about the product.

The research was conducted among teenagers using familiar 'impact and communication'-type questions such as 'Did this commercial give you enough information about the product?' and 'Do you think someone would find this commercial easy to understand?' From such questions, average scores were produced for constructs including 'ease of understanding', 'believability', 'relevance', 'branding' and 'persuasion'. On all these, scores were below norms.