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Ad gurus were asked whether John Wanamaker's lament ("I know half

of my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half") is still valid.

Al Ries

Chairman, Ries & Ries

"If half of John Wanamaker's budget was wasted at the turn of the last century, then three-fourths of the typical advertising budget is wasted today.

"There is no practical way of measuring the effect of a single advertisement. The only measurement that has any validity is the measurement of an entire advertising campaign, which might include many different media.

"Furthermore, how do you separate advertising from its publicity component? I don't think you can. The best you can do is to say that you spent so much money on a marketing campaign and it was worthwhile.

"Or it wasn't.

"In the future, in my opinion, measurement will become less important in the overall scheme of things and good judgment will become far more important."

Michael Kassan

President, Western Initiative Media

"At the risk of sounding like an economist or an attorney (which is my background and training), my answer regarding the validity of his complaint in today's world is both 'yes' and 'no.'

"I am confident Wanamaker would be awed and duly impressed by the degree to which we can measure, segment and identify specific audiences for media forms he could not possibly have imagined or envisioned 100 years ago. But, it seems to me that his question was less about media measurement and more about the effectiveness of ideas. And that question still remains a major topic of interest and debate for our industry.

"Advertising is, fundamentally, commercial persuasion and persuasion is still as much art as it is science. Advertisers have always desired and demanded accountability whether their media options were few and virtually limited to the printed word, as they were 100 years ago, or the virtually unlimited number of choices -- certainly more than any individual budget can sustain -- available to them today.

"The next few years will be rich in research dedicated to determining various aspects of media effectiveness, and our industry will make enormous strides catching up, as it were, to the changes and advances being made in technology and the ways those changes impact media delivery systems, media consumption and media pricing.

"But despite everything we have learned over the past 100 years, no one has been able to develop the fabled 'black box,' the mechanism that will enable an advertiser or agency to input an advertisement and obtain a printout that will predict sales results or consumer acceptance of the ad's premise, approach and saliency. That aspect of the business still requires judgment based upon experience, intelligence and knowledge of the product, the market, the consumer, the media and the way they all interact to culminate in a sale or intent to purchase.

"If Wanamaker were alive, I'd caution him that in today's incredibly complex marketing environment, it's not what you don't know that gets you into trouble, it's what you know that just isn't so that costs you money."

Ronald Cox

Group VP-marketing,

William Wrigley Jr. Co.

"Today, I think we are more able than ever to determine which advertising works -- if works includes awareness measures, etc. and, of course, sales impact. Information Resources Inc. has moved measurement a long way for companies who are dependent on advertising to move goods.

"Where we haven't made much progress is in our ability to predict whether a specific campaign or effort will work. I have yet to see a testing system which will do this consistently. In net, predicting the impact of advertising is still a mystery."

Robert Wehling

Senior VP-global marketing, Procter & Gamble Co.

"Procter & Gamble feels it can make 100% of its media work if it does everything else right.

"Is the product superior to competition and significantly different from competition to give us an edge? Do we have the right advertising strategyand -- we do a lot of work on this -- do we have the message right?

"If those things are correct, then nine times out of 10 or better, we're convinced that 100% of our media is effective, not 50% like John Wanamaker's. But if any part of the puzzle is wrong, we're less than 50% effective.

"When our message is deep and on target, when the consumer understands what we're doing and the message has resonance then we're very confident our expenditure will build brands and pay us dividends."

Allen Rosenshine


BBDO Worldwide

"I think Wanamaker would still have a case for there being waste, although I'd argue it's now easier to identify, if not correct.

"We know how to create more effective advertising than in years past. We understand consumers better, we are more strategic in branding and we are learning the value of non-traditional media . . . And we have more sophisticated modeling to better evaluate what we do, to understand the impact of advertising at various levels and in differing combinations of integrated communications.

"What the industry hasn't done is meaningfully improve our creative product. We seem to go through cycles. In the '70s, it was creative-by-the-research numbers. In the '80s, it was production substituting for ideas. In this decade, we've developed an almost manic compulsion toward emulating and competing with youth-oriented media, to the point that too much advertising is all too often incomprehensibly absurd, delivering no discernible message in relation to any coherent strategic intent.

"So, like Wanamaker, we know there's waste. . . As an industry, we'll just have to keep at it till we solve it. "

Peter Georgescu

Chairman, Young & Rubicam

"Wanamaker was quite astute to look closely at how his advertising dollars were being spent. As a matter of fact, you might even say he was prescient. He made his famous remark over a hundred years ago, but even up until the last 10 years or so, advertisers had little sense of what kind of return they were getting from their advertising dollars. Many companies couldn't even tell if their marketing programs were headed in the right direction.

"During the past decade, our industry has begun to make up for a long history of tolerating a hit-and-miss approach to brand building. A great deal of attention has been paid to measuring the effectiveness of advertising.The real challenge remains in evaluating the tangible returns one gets from marketing dollars spent.

"At Y&R, we've devoted a great deal of time (and money) to answering the modern version of Wanamaker's $64,000 question. And we've come up with two key strategies. First, that it is only by truly understanding and precisely evaluating the value of the brand asset that we become accountable to our clients. Second, incentive-based compensation aligns our interests with those of our clients and represents real accountability.

"When you understand the dynamics of brands and are able to measure their vitality, you can directly link the effect your communications programs are having on your brand and understand what's causing these changes."

Howard Draft


Draft Worldwide

"With more media options, a highly fragmented audience and a wider range of competitive products, the advertising community has to change the communications paradigm from 'intrusion' to 'invitation' to be as effective as we move into the next millennium. The old, unsolicited, intrusive school of advertising is giving way to a new model in which the consumer will have control over when, where and how he obtains information on products and services.

"The Internet provides advertisers with an opportunity to participate in consumer-driven communications. It is a medium John Wanamaker would have adored.

"We are seeing more and more traditional mass advertisers embrace database marketing with customer loyalty programs. As technology brings us closer to being able to create relevant one-to-one dialogue, we might finally achieve

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