Study finds for continuity vs. flights

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A new study concludes that "continuity" TV ad schedules are more effective than separate flights in driving brand sales.

"Adworks2," conducted by Media Marketing Assessment, a unit of Carat USA, in conjunction with Information Resources Inc.'s InfoScan and Nielsen Media Research's Monitor-Plus services, studied the relationship of TV advertising to sales of more than 2,000 brands.

The TV research community is calling this the most comprehensive study ever to shed light on the subject of whether a heavy, concentrated schedule of spots--called flighting--with an ad hiatus in between or a consistent schedule over a long period--or continuity--was better.

The latter theory is based on the idea that it's more important to get exposure as close as possible to the time when someone is going to make a purchase. For example, if a consumer shops on a weekly basis, the best time to reach that person is right before he or she shops, and the advertiser should maintain a weekly ad schedule over as long a period of time as possible.

"Adworks2" indicates this approach is more effective than flighting.

"This is a significant finding, as it's been a major discussion among media planners and strategists," said Stig Karlsen, MMA's president-CEO.


Another major finding of "Adworks2" revolves around the relationship between a brand development index and advertising effectiveness.

"The brand development index is the strength of a brand on a per capita basis in a market," said Erin Wullenweber, senior VP of MMA, adding that the study found the brand development index is not related to ad effectiveness.

"One might think that if you have heavy users in a market, you should use that as a parameter in your media planning," said Mr. Karlsen. "What this study says is that doesn't necessary drive sales the best for your advertising."

He added that media planners at many different agencies tend to come up with similar media plans.

"What this study clearly demonstrates is that plans have to be much more brand-related and based much more on how a particular brand responds to marketing investment," Mr. Karlsen stated.

ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, along with Kraft Foods, are major clients of "Adworks2."

An additional part of the study should be ready within a few weeks. It deals with media-plan execution and such notions as the effectiveness of :30s vs. :15s and if certain dayparts are more effective than others.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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