Creative messages still typically require “budget, exposure, and the scale” to make the desired impact among consumers, as true viral successes remain extremely unusual.

Les Binet, head of effectiveness at London-based agency adam&eveDDB, discussed this subject at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) 2019 AUDIENCExSCIENCE conference.

Drawing on a range of effectiveness studies conducted with co-author Peter Field, a marketing consultant, Binet suggested that powerful messaging relies on a blend of compelling creative and financial muscle.

“Creative agencies these days often misunderstand that although great creative work is really important, you also need budget, exposure, and the scale behind it,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: 11 brand-building tips from the godfather of effectiveness.)

Binet also quoted the famed marketing academic Andrew Ehrenberg, who found that advertising is a “weak force” that has a modest impact on consumer choice.

“Therefore, you need to hit people at scale. You can’t do it by focusing on the small number of people and getting big responses,” Binet said.

“It’s primarily about getting a weak response from a large number of people. And even in today’s world – with owned media and earned media – there is no substitute for paid media for doing that.”

Owned media can boost campaign effectiveness by around 13%, according to Binet and Field’s work – a figure rising to 26% for earned media.

“But you don’t tend to get any kind of response to your owned and earned media without the support of paid media, unless you’re really, really lucky. Most people who try to go viral fail,” said Binet.

Drilling down further, he reasserted a core element of the Binet/Field canon: namely, that the rate at which a brand grows tends to be proportionate to the difference between its share of voice and share of market.

“Brands that set their share of voice above their share of market tend to be the ones that grow. Brands that accept their share of voice below their share of market tend, on average, to fail,” Binet told the ARF assembly.

“Despite all the changes in the media marketplace, the equation seems to be the same. I keep expecting it to change [but] it’s like the rule of gravity.

“Unfortunately, there is still no substitute for spending money. But nobody wants to believe that.”

Sourced from WARC