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The two laws seemed immutable in any comparison between print and TV advertising: 1) TV commercials are retained more than print ads by a margin of almost 2-to-1; and 2) while retention of print ads remains constant around 30%, the retention of TV commercials fluctuates (between 50% and 70%) in concert with the year's creative output.

Therefore, the best year for TV commercials was 1987-a year noteworthy for such campaigns as California Raisins, Spuds Mac-Kenzie (Bud Light), the Isuzu Liar and DuPont Stainmaster.

In 1995, both laws were broken. Print retention exploded to 39% while TV logged a mediocre 60%. Retention, as used here, means leaving a lasting positive impression with the viewers.

It has three components-consumers recall the brand name, like the execution, and maintain a positive attitude towards the brand.

Reasons for print's stellar performance in 1995 include:

For the first time in more than a decade, three of the top 10 in Video Storyboard's print ratings were newcomers-National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board, Budweiser and White Diamonds.

While all three of these campaigns made the top 10 in their first year out, milk performed the unprecedented by taking the top spot. (Even Calvin Klein required two years to build awareness to become No. 1 in 1985. Camel required two years to get to the No. 2 spot in 1989.)

The promotion board's milk mustache effort became the major print-only campaign in the country (other than cigarettes and hard liquors), thereby establishing print as a stand-alone medium.

The last notion harkens back to a 1984 Ogilvy & Mather study which concluded print alone performed better in test markets than TV just as it performed better as supplemental to TV.

"There is more and more hard evidence that greater spending in print moves more products than TV," said Tom Kenney, chairman, Magazine Publishers of America. "Print is targetable, tactible, portable, visually stimulating and provides a friendly environment for advertising to get results."

Dave Vadehra is president of Video Storyboard Tests, New York.

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