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The growth and decline of response to advertisements - A look at the importance of thresholds and wearout

By John Newall and David Corkindale


This paper attempts to introduce and define the concepts of threshold and wearout and to review the existing state of knowledge surrounding these topics. The problem is first introduced in Section II, not explicitly in terms of threshold and wearout, but in terms of how these phenomena affect the decision of how many times a campaign or advertising theme should be run In Section III formal definitions of these terms, such as they exist, are provided and discussed within the context of the stimulus-response approach. It is suggested that the conception of how advertising works significantly determines the way in which thresholds and wearout are defined and assumed to operate. As such, problems of definition are discussed in Section IV together with the need to specify advertising in a time dimension and the need to specify the measure of response. The value of the stimulus-response ideology is brought into question in Section V and an alternative conception, illustrated for the case of direct response advertising, is proposed. This alternative is based on the need to consider the role of interest or involvement in the advertising when seeking to interpret different forms of response within the context of thresholds and wearout. This viewpoint is further developed in Section VI with reference to the available work on the effects of advertising repetition. Characteristics of the advertising appeal and format, the product or brand, the media and the schedule are discussed in terms of how they influence the level of response. A number of valuable insights are gained from extending these findings to derive implications for thresholds and wearout. Finally, Section VII provides an interim summary and conclusions. This report represents the a three part study. A questionnaire is being circulated to many advertising decision makers from which further information and observations on thresholds and wearout can be established. The results of this exercise will be published in part two of this report. A final report will summarise the study's overall findings and.spell out what precautions can be taken to avoid high thresholds and low wearout in advertising and how these can be detected

Publisher: Cranfield School of Management
Year: 1975
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Provided by: Cranfield CERES
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