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Guru Search Results: 53 matches were found

Friday, March 24, 2000 #3338
dear guru, could you tell me what aperture theory is? cant seem to have heard this before. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 27, 2000 ):
Some see aperture theory as a companion to RECENCY, some as a contradiction.

Most simply, aperture theory holds that there is a point in a brands purchase cycle when the consumer is most susceptible to advertisng persuasion regading the next purchase, and that is when to concentrate message delivery. The connection to RECENCY, is that RECENCY theorists hold that, to the extent that advertising affects purchase, the exposure closest to the purchase decision is most influencial in the purchase decison. When purchases are occuring constantly, the best plan distributes exposures continuously, which achieves the most consumers reached relative to purchase occasions, as compared to palns with hiatuses or occasional big peaks in weight.


Wednesday, March 08, 2000 #3300
Oh mighty Guru, I have just entered in to the realms of RECENCY Theory here in Australia. There are many things which I am not sure of and was wondering whether you had a document or presentation of sorts which outlines what RECENCY theory actually is and all of the fundamental rules involved i.e. If you want to upweight weeks, how do you go about this and should you ensure all of the weeks are full before you do this?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 10, 2000 ):
Click here to see past Guru responses which extensively discuss most aspects of RECENCY.


Sunday, March 05, 2000 #3283
hi guru is there any place that i can read about media strategies? ( flighting, continuous,pulsing ,RECENCY)? can you guide me what are the right reach/ frequency levels in FCMG ? shooping goods? others? best regards

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 05, 2000 ):
There are many Guru comments about these topics. Go to the Guru Archives Search Engine. Use your keywords as your search terms.


Thursday, January 27, 2000 #3161
Dear Guru, Am very interested in the effective frequency and RECENCY planning debate. I would be very grateful if you could forward some articles or suggest sites where I could read about John Phillip Jones and Erwin Ephron on STAS and RECENCY Planning or Mcdonald and Naples on Effective Frequency. Any other articles/sources would be of great interest to me Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 29, 2000 ):
AMIC's sister company, Telmar, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with special "Anniversary Awards Papers" written by Jones (on STAS) and Ephron and posted here.

Click here to see numerous past Guru comments relating to RECENCY and effective frequency.

The most complete collection of articles on these topics is the The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Some would be found in the Newsweek Media Research Index.


Wednesday, January 05, 2000 #3097
Dear Guru Please can you tell me how I know when x% reach is enough? From going through the archives it seems as if your answer will be "that this is a judgement call" but surely there must be something more scientific than that?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 05, 2000 ):
Yes, the Guru has often answered such questions with that phrase, but went on to list the considerations to review in making the judgement.

You need to build toward a reach goal, not pull it out of your hat. There is no piece of science that makes one specific reach number correct as an abstraction.

If some level of ad awareness is your real goal, the reach must be at least as high as the awareness level desired: people must see an ad before they can become aware of it. If you believe that it takes three exposures to a campaign before the consumer is consciously aware of the campaign then the awarenes level becomes the 3+ reach level, and a total (1+) reach level may be inferred from that.

If you follow RECENCY theory, you will evaluate the continuous levels of reach delivery affordable in possible media options.

So "enough" is not simply "enough," it must be enough to accomplish a specifed goal of awareness, sales, image change, etc.


Tuesday, December 14, 1999 #3053
I have a production department and account manager that want to produce a :60 TV spot. I know that we need a :30. I need to give them (and the client) a concrete argument as to why :60's are too expensive to produce and place and the effectiveness of a :30 is what we need. I know that :15's can be 70-80% as effective as :30's - but I don't know numbers on the effective of :60's - help

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 19, 1999 ):
When :30's were a new idea, research showed them to be about 75% as effective as :60's. Now that they are coin-of-the-realm, the ratio has probably improved. Even if less than half as effective as a :60, the reach/frequency and RECENCY contibutions of running twice as many spots would outweigh this unit impact issue.

It is a mistake to consider only one execution vs another when it is the campaign that should be evaluated in measuring effectiveness.

The research should be at the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Wednesday, November 03, 1999 #2931
I have a client that is a local car dealer and wanted to ask you about branding. What, if any in particular, media are most appropriate for branding purposes? I believe in the RECENCY strategy for media placement and wonder how this philosophy would relate to branding as well?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 03, 1999 ):
The Guru believes that
  • Branding (long term identity / positioning) is one side of the coin and promotion (immediate, short-term response) is the other
  • Branding would be unusual for a car dealer, but not unheard-of.
  • any medium can carry a branding message, just as any medium can carry a promotional message.
  • Probably radio and newspaper are more common for retail promotion, TV and magazine more common for branding.

RECENCY is specifically oriented to short term response; delivering "the message closest to the purchase decision." Continuity will also support branding, but can be looked at over a longer span.


Tuesday, November 02, 1999 #2927
I am basing a media plan on the RECENCY theory and wanted to know how to calculate cost per reach and/or cost per reach point for my broadcast buys?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, November 02, 1999 ):
The Guru has discussed this previously.

Click here to see past Guru responses


Monday, September 27, 1999 #2830
I have read all your responses regarding RECENCY. If you wouldn’t mind answering a few more, this is a multiple question predominantly regarding RECENCY as a planning theory. 1) What Telemar program deals with TV R&F on a weekly basis? 2) Do the same audience accumulation formulas work for a one-week cume vs. 4wk or 52 wk? 3) When now planning an a weekly basis rather than a flighted basis are frequency guidelines or goals a consideration in the RECENCY planning theory? 4) Has there been a clear industry swing relative to EF or RECENCY yet? 5) A 1997 JAR article by Erwin Ephron cited some minimum target reach guidelines like 35 weekly, 65 four-week and 80 quarterly. Has there been anything more definitively determined since then (I noticed reply 2631 7/14/99 lowering the weekly reach to 30)? 6) For those espousing RECENCY, is the trend to a 52 presence or extended flighting like 8-10 continuous weeks of each quarter? 7) On the Effective Frequency side, where the defacto goal has centered around the 3+ level, has the time frame shifted to anything other than a 4-week period?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 29, 1999 ):
1) Media Maestro and TV Buyer handle TV R&F.

2) No, formulas differ for one week, 4 week, and long term. 400 GRP, spread ove differend programs might come close to exhausting the reach potential of one week's TV audience, but not if spread over 4 weeks or longer.

3) RECENCY planning is focused on weekly reach, and incorporates the concept that every exposure after the third one is at the 3+ level.

4) Some have adopted RECENCY, some cling to effective reach. The Guru is not aware of any polls of agencies or advertisers, but suspects that RECENCY is still growing in acceptance, but is a minority approach.

5) The reach minima are a bit loose, and 30 vs 35 is not a major point of contention.

6) The idea of RECENCY is that being there whenever a purchase decision is made is ideal. Flighting, when continuity is affordable and there is no major seasonality is contrary to the principle.

7) Four weeks has always been somewhat arbitrary, likley stemming from the one-time dominance of monthly magazines. But it is a convenient benchmark. A logical approach can set a level other than 3+ or other than 4 weeks, etc.


Tuesday, September 14, 1999 #2795
Dear Guru, I am writing to you from the Middle East. First of all I am very excited to discover the AMIC site. I have recently been exposed to various documentation on the RECENCY theory. Alongwith the documentation I have seen something called reach curves. The reach curves I have seen are typically for 1+, 2+, and 3+ levels for all adults and all women audiences. I understand it is an easy way to translate Effective Reach goals into GRP goals e.g. X GRPs will get you Y% 3+ reach against the target. It also clearly depicts the point of diminishing return. I am eager to know how I can develop reach curves for my market. Can this be done by us in the media department or do we need to approach some company which specializes in this area. What sort of data is required? Just to give you a background, we are not a metered market. TV audience measurement is conducted thrice a year using face-to-face interviews with a representative sample. Viewership is typically available by 15 minute time segments for all channels across various demos. Thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 ):
Reach curves have been in use since long before computers were used in media departments and long before metered measurement.

Curves are created by using the reach of actual schedules. For example, in the U.S., Nielsen would report the actual reach of specific brands' schedules, based on examining the net unduplicated viewers in their reasearch data who viewed the program schedules used by the brand's commercials.

Once you have several schedules ( 8 or so will do) with actual reaches and frequencies for various GRP levels, you can use the regression analysis data function in a spreadsheet, like MS Excel or Lotus 1-2-3, to calculate a formula which describes the curve. This formula can literally draw the curve on a graph, or let you build a table of GRP / Reach pairs. By the way, it is the frequency and GRPs which are used in building this regression, because while reach is a curve, frequency is a straight line.


Wednesday, August 25, 1999 #2740
Dear Guru; following your answer on Aug 11 RECENCY / chocolate snack bar, and since chocolate snacks are eaten on impulse and out of the house, should we use more long term outdoor than TV ? Thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 28, 1999 ):
If one continues to reduce "RECENCY" to its most basic level, out-of-home media would always be the first and best option, since they are perfectly continuous. But, all the other elements of media consideration must still be applied to the equation.


Monday, August 16, 1999 #2721
How do you plan your media buy using the "RECENCY" philosophy when advertising products with a long cycle re-purchase period such as an automobile?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 16, 1999 ):
The central concept of RECENCY is that the message received closest to a purchase decision is the most effective message. Continuous advertising will reach more people at any given time and is best for products purchased all the time, no matter how long the purchase cycle. That is, no matter whether it's 4 weeks or four years. So the only question is whether there are always people in the market for cars. This doesn't mean you shouldn't vary levels at peak selling times.


Tuesday, August 10, 1999 #2704
I am a media planner for an advertising agency. I am working on a media plan for the 1999-2000 winter season (November till April). The product is a well-established brand chocolate snack bar. The plan consists mainly of TV advertising. I am thinking of applying the RECENCY strategy throughout the whole season. My question to you - how much of the weekly schedule should be in Prime Time? What is the minimum required and what are the reasons? Can you refer me to any literature on this subject? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 ):
RECENCY is about delivering reach with as much continuity as possible, so that your message is always reaching the most people as close to a purchase decison as possible.

RECENCY does not specify a daypart mix. Of course, in working on a RECENCY based plan, you will explore various mixes to establish which works best to deliver continuous reach for you budget/ Thus the cost of building reach with prime is a key factor.


Tuesday, July 27, 1999 #2659
Dear Guru, could you pls tell me what is RECENCY? How to use it?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 28, 1999 ):
This is propobably the Guru's most frequently discussed topic.

Click here to see over 3 dozen Guru responses about RECENCY .


Wednesday, July 14, 1999 #2631
While there are different parameters ( creative, media, marketing ) to set the effective frequency for a media plan there seems to be no parameter for setting reach. What are the different ways to arrive at reach objectives for a plan

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 15, 1999 ):
There are many approaches.
  • awareness goals: Ad awarness won't get higher than reach, obviously
  • comfort levels: When working with an effective frequency level, the Guru wants to reach the majority of his target effectively over four weeks
  • Affordability
  • RECENCY: RECENCY says that maintaining some level of weekly reach is more effective than flighting, for products with regular purchase (threshold is 30 reach per week)
There are numerous variations.


Thursday, July 08, 1999 #2618
Re: #2507. Do you think the planner may want to consider evaluating the schedules based on the sum of sequential reaches on a weekly, avg. 4-week, 13 week, and cumulative basis.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 08, 1999 ):
No, the essence of RECENCY is the weekly reach, not the cume. One of the principal foundation points of RECENCY is that once three exposures are achieved (for those who go by 3+ reach) each added exposure is at 3+. Reaches can't be summed to any purpose, duplication must always be considered.


Wednesday, July 07, 1999 #2614
I do the media planning for a targeted television network, and currently, we are evaluating our spot radio buys to answer the question: "Do these need to be more dispersed (i.e., do we need to buy a deeper station list vs. hi frequency on a few, targeted stations) in line with the RECENCY approach? Please keep in mind that we essentially have a new brand every day, as people tend to watch on a night-by-night, as well as on, an episodic basis, rather than every week by rote. I apologize, as I may have asked this question previously, but I didn't realize I should check back for the answer -- for some reason I thought the answer would come via e-mail.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 08, 1999 ):
RECENCY values reach above frequency. Therefore, greater dispesion of you weight would be preferable under that theory.

But this theory is most typical for package goods, where there is less of an issue of whether or not to buy in the category. The Guru does not believe choosing whether to watch TV and what to watch on TV is strictly comparable.


Monday, May 17, 1999 #2509
Media Guru - I just read your responce to question #2507. Numerically, your answer may be correct that turning 200 pulsed TRP's into 100 continous TRP's may be more effective. (RECENCY theory) It may not however be realistically the best course of action. RECENCY assumes that your advertising is ongoing reminder advertising and that your brand is well established. Also, purchase patterns and frequency are important. In terms of media, you have to consider what will 100 TRP's afford you? If you are in 2 or 3 dayparts in TV you will have a handful of spots, that the prospect will be lucky to see. I think that RECENCY has to be balanced out with other marketing and media factors, including impact.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 18, 1999 ):
As the Guru said in that response, the concept applied "particularly if your product is something people are buying continuously or regularly."

RECENCY does not make assumptions about product establishment -- though some practicioners may. In fact the original statement of the thesis emphasized the point, for effective frequency adherents, that after the third exposure, every exposure was at "three plus" and looking at abstractions like three plus in a set time frame was not necessary. About 60 GRP per week has been identified as a workable threshold of effectiveness.

Regarding dayparts, any mix of daypart is likely to deliver an average rating in the 5 to 8 range. Unless you have frequency goals by daypart (why?), 100 vs 200 seems a moot issue.

The net effect on consumers, at the end of four weeks, whether you have run 100 GRP per week or 200 GRP in weeks #1 and #3 only, will be about the same, in accumulated reach and average frequency.

The biggest difference will be in average reach per week (or per day). Your point makes a big issue of a time frame called a week, which is just an abstraction and a common convenience in looking at schedules.

Thinking of the schedule you would select to run 200 GRP in 7 days, why must it differ if spread over 14 days?


Wednesday, May 12, 1999 #2507
For several years, I have bought my client's spring and fall campaigns on an alternating schedule i.e., one week on and one week off @ 200 TRPs per week. Historically, we take a four month hiatus between campaigns. Recently, someone told the client that it would be more effective to buy three weeks consecutively at lower TRP levels. Either plan would be restrained by a stated budget amount. Do you have an opinion about each of these strategies or your ownpreference in television buying strategy when trying to stretch the time on-air?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 16, 1999 ):
You haven't stated how many weeks of 200 on and off you run.

But, assuming you take a one-week-on / one-week-off schedule of 200 and change it to 100/week continuous, this will probably be more effective, particularly if your product is something people are buying continuously or regularly. Since reach can only go just so high, the average reach per week of 100 GRPs continuous will be higher than the average weekly reach of one week at 200 and one week at 0 GRP. So the continuous schedule has a better chance or reaching someone just as they are about to make a purchase decision.

This is the essence of the "RECENCY theory."

Click here to see past Guru responses about RECENCY


Wednesday, May 05, 1999 #2489
My partner and I are suggesting our cleint some TV specials as part of our recommendation in which we want to include creative media. Our client concern is that she does not think specials are good enough, since her product have TV presence throughot the entire year. Our recommendation is based not on frequency but on reach and the opportunity to sponsor events in which the target population will be effectively reached. Do you have any other theoretical explanation we can give to support our plan?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 06, 1999 ):
The appeal of specials is certainly that they add excitement and may focus on a particular target. If they are truly unusual, you hope to get a gratitude factor from the audience.

In the Guru's opinion, relying on a few specials rather than more continuous advertising is not as likely to be "effective." When a product is sold year round, on a regular basis, there is a need for continuous advertising presence. Effectiveness of reach comes from either frequency or RECENCY in relation to sales opportunities.


Sunday, May 02, 1999 #2482
What is the minimum weekly threshold level of Reach & Frequency to be set for a print campaign [ Full page colour] ? How different would be the same for a television campaign [ 30 secs TVC]?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 03, 1999 ):
There is no absolute standard. RECENCY theory calls for about 30 reach as the weekly threshold. The Guru believes virtually any reach is worth something, but careful analysis of the sales or consumer response needed to support a level of spending can always be done.

To the Guru's thinking, the only reason to have a different threshold for TV vs print is that typically, the frequency levels accompanying a given reach in magazines will be lower than the frequency for the same reach in TV, assuming your reach is at more than a minimum level. (A reach of 10% in either, achieved through one advertisement will have a frequency of 1.0).


Tuesday, March 30, 1999 #2420
where can i find more information abbout the aperture teorty maybe it has another name (i am not mean the RECENCY teory) thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 30, 1999 ):
See query numbers 2323 and 2419.


Tuesday, March 16, 1999 #2394
Hello Media Guru, I am a consultant advising a sales team that sells airtime on in-store radio services in the UK. The RECENCY model seems to lend itself to this particular media format. Are there any details available on US examples of this type of medium, and case studies etc they may have? Thanks Clive Reffell

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 20, 1999 ):
Certainly in-store radio ties in with the idea that the most effective advertising is the last exposure prior to the purchase. Yet, in-store radio has never been a great success in the U.S.

The best source of case studies may be POPAI, The Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute.

Also visit Music Technologies International.


Monday, February 15, 1999 #2333
what is the recent work being done on the RECENCY theory--beyond erwin ephron?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 15, 1999 ):
The advertising trades such as the U.S.' Ad Age publish regarding this topic from time to time.

The Advertising Research Foundation library will compile published information from many sources as developments are reported.

Walter Reichel and Leslie Wood of A:S Link worked on the concept as early as 1989. A forthcoming book by Simon Broadbent will cover RECENCY extensively. Another recent volume, How Advertising Works, by J.P. Jones, also examines the history of RECENCY.


Thursday, February 11, 1999 #2323
What is the main difference between RECENCY theory and aperture theory?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 13, 1999 ):
Both theories agree that advertising delivered nearest to a purchase decision is most effective.

RECENCY empahsizes the idea that purchases are happening all the time and continuity gives more chances to get an exposure close to a purchase.

Aperture theory says that there are particular best times for an advertising message to be delivered, whether because there is an identifieable time when a purchase decision is being made or a time when a specific message type is more effective. E.g. the cleaning characteistics of windshield washer fluid are most important in summer and the antifreeze characteristics are moe so in winter.


Thursday, February 11, 1999 #2322
Ephron(1993)suggests that the more a planner goes for frequency on television, the less effective he will progressively be, because the extra GRPs will fall increasingly into the "black hole" of the heavy viewers' viewing times, when they already have more enough OTS. In the context of "Effectiv Frequency", do you think concentrated frequency with a low reach is usually "better" than a lower frequency with a higher reach?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 13, 1999 ):
In the context of effective frequency, yes, more frequency with less reach is better than less frequenct with more reach, but that isn't the point of effective frequency. Effective frequency is the concept of focusing on the reach which is delivered at enough frequency.

Effective frequency is one basis of Ephron's theories. The key point he adds in movimg to RECENCY planning is that frequency is additive over time; once a message has passed the effective threshold, each additional exposure is with effective frequency, especially when advertising is continuous. There is no need to consider only four week


Friday, January 29, 1999 #2298
I have read many of the questions and answers relating to the subject of RECENCY on your pages and note that you consider that RECENCY planning is more appropriate for frequently purchased goods than more considered purchases on longer purchase cycles. Why do you deem considered purchases less appropriate for RECENCY? It was my understanding that as long as there are purchases every week it doesn't matter at what frequency that product is purchased by the average consumer.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 04, 1999 ):
The issue is more one of seaonality than purchase cycle. See the Guru response of Thursday, January 14, 1999, #2261, for clarification.


Thursday, January 14, 1999 #2261
The Media Guru response of Dec. 4/98 was that "common products . . . bought recently" are best candidates for RECENCY planning, as opposed to products involving "considered purchase," such as automobiles. Not every- body buys even "considered purchase" items on the same day, so does it not make sense to spread impressions over entire year, perhaps on basis of % sales by month? My experience in grocery packaged goods designing Test vs. Control experiments on different ways to execute "RECENCY" supports Erwin Ephron's work. Same approach should apply to even automobiles, it seems to me -- unless someone has conducted experiments proving the contrary. Have you seen such evidence, or are you speculating. There are many myths about RECENCY. My experience is in Canada, where I am a consultant specializing in RECENCY.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 15, 1999 ):
That Guru response combined readings of Erwin's published work on RECENCY, conversations with Erwin, and some of the Guru's own thinking.

Your excerpt is inaccurate, however. The Guru referred there to "common products bought regularly."

In that response, the Guru also stated that RECENCY does not require even levels of continuity, but that seasonal sales peaks can certainly be reflected in plan levels. This would likely fit the automotive situation.


Sunday, January 10, 1999 #2257
Dear Guru. I am a media planner in India. Need some information on latest effective frequency models. The Ostrow model as described in the Scissors and Bumba is the only one I have seen. Are there any other models developed? Also it would nice if you could pass on some info on RECENCY planning theory.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 11, 1999 ):
The Advertising Research Foundation library would be the best source for alternative models.

The Guru has often discussed RECENCY. Click here to see past guru responses on RECENCY planning


Sunday, December 20, 1998 #2227
Dear guru, i am a student of media planning and am currently pursuing my thesis on RECENCY planning and its applicability in India. what are the sites on the net which give information on RECENCY planning? how can i access various studies done on this subject?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, December 21, 1998 ):
There is considerable information here on AMIC . Use the search function in the Media Guru archives or in the Ad Talk and Chats area, where the Mediaplanning and Awards Papers list have all discussed RECENCY extensively.

The Advertising Research Foundation also has all the published material.


Friday, December 04, 1998 #2198
Dear Guru. Thank you for your answers - they are very helpfull to me. My question is on "RECENCY". 1.What groups of products best fit for "RECENCY" planning. 2."RECENCY" planning needs continuity. But it is not evident what frequency level is needed at every moment of such continious ad campaign. It seems reasonable to set more frequency at the launch period and then decrease frequency for mantainance. Also we should take into consideration seasonality. Thus our campaign becomes pulsing but not continious. What are your comments? Thank you very much.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 04, 1998 ):
1- RECENCY seems to best fit common products that are bought regularly; in other words, a purchase is stimulated by running out of the current supply. This means food and HBA products, primarily. More "considered purchase" products, like automobiles, may not be a good fit.

2- Erwin Ephron, principal proponent of RECENCY, has commented to the Guru that about 30 reach on a weekly basis is a threshold level. This might mean 50-60 GRP depending on the media used amd target.

Part of RECENCY theory, in relation to frequency levels and effective reach, is that after three exposures have been delivered, every subsequent exposure is supported by adequate frequency. RECENCY generally applies to brands with established awareness; when you raise the issue of product introductions, it is a different situation.

Seasonality is the principal exception to RECENCY. There is no point in delivering the most recent ad exposure at a time when no purchase is likely. It is important to distinguish products with seasonal fluctuations, like deodorant, from products with very specific seasons, like barbecue charcoal.

Also consider that RECENCY does not mandate even levels in its continuity. The weight can be raised above the threshold when appropriate.


Thursday, December 03, 1998 #2196
Dear Guru. I am interested in the "RECENCY" theory very much. But unfortunately it is too hard to get the complete view of this theory just investigating your previous answers and "Ad Talk & Chats". So could you provide some main statements of the "RECENCY" theory. Thank you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 03, 1998 ):
The essence of the RECENCY theory is

1- that the last ad exposure before a purchase is the most influential.

2-That this last exposure is more powerful than less recent, more frequent exposures.

3-Therefore, continuous advertising will outperform the same total weight delivered in flights, because it offers more opportunities to be present closest to a purchase.

Of course, there are many sub-points regarding seasonality, minimum threshhold levels, and spontaneity of purchases.


Sunday, November 29, 1998 #2178
Need to know urgently on RECENCY model. Please help

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 29, 1998 ):
Always the fastest way to get the Guru's thinking on specific issues is to go to the Guru Archives Search Engine. Use "RECENCY" as your search term in this case and you will find several Guru responses about RECENCY.


Wednesday, November 04, 1998 #2122
1) Guru, Could you please explain what is meant by implementation planning ? Where does it fit into the media planning process?

This is with reference to my question on Implementation planning.

Implementation Planning as I came across it was unexplained and there wasn't any context to it. I came across it in a curriculum vitae of a media planner. I haven't met this person whose CV it was and neither are there any chances of me seeing him.

I do understand, as you clarified that this may be a proprietary term, etc. but what does it mean in media jargon ? U see, I think it'd have to do with plans for implementing (on a monthly basis)a business plan made for the year and evolving buying strategies ? please do answer my query since I'm quite anxious to hear from you.

2) Also, When is the library of media plans that AMIC is to have, coming online?

3) Guru, one last question. The books that you reccomend from the AMIC-Amazon bookstore are for new or relatively new planners. what books would you reccomend for planners at a middle level ? Please, no Amazon - my searches on online bookstores have proved fruitless. can you reccomend a few titles, maybe I can scour a second hand bookshop, somewhere.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 05, 1998 ):
1) As the Guru commented in his private request for clarification, Implementation planning is notstandard media jargon. (many agencies develop their own terminology for proprietary processes or approaches to common tasks).

It could describe what some call "buying platform" which compiles all the considerations for choosing and negotiating media during the "implementation" of an approved plan.

Or it could mean the work flow / critical path for implementing an approved plan; an intermediary step between planning and buying.

Or it could be referring to a philosophical approach to creating a plan, like "RECENCY planning."

2) The call for submissions to the Guru's AMIC Media Plans and Research Library is expected to be announced this week. (AMIC's media Guru is often asked where one might find a sample plan or research analysis to serve as a model for one's own project. As a service to our advertising professional members, AMIC is collecting a library of AMIC users' media plans and research analyses which can serve as models or starting points for your own projects.)

Registered AMIC users can expect to get details in their AMIC-News November e-mail. Have you picked out one of your own plans to submit?

3) Media planning texts are inherently basic. Beyond that, more advanced learning is best derived from

  • experience - learning from those with whom you work
  • trade publications and conferences - the two latest big issues in advanced planning: RECENCY planning and buy optimization, have principally been documented in these forums, and
  • information, whether texts or otherwise, from related areas such as marketing.


Friday, October 30, 1998 #2117
I have a client that would like to do an image radio schedule for the first time. An 8 week schedule was proposed - he wants to cut it to 6 weeks for budget reasons. The reach and frequency for both schedules are similar. Is there research to show him as to why the longer schedule will have more impact and long term effectiveness?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 30, 1998 ):
There seems to be a missing factor. If you were running 100 GRP per week for 8 weeks and cut back to 100 GRP per week for 6 weeks, GRP would be reduced by 25%. Therefore, reach or frequency would have to change significantly, if not both.

I.e: suppose your 8 week plan had a reach and frequency of 60 / 13.3 with 800 GRP. If you reduced the plan to 6 weeks / 600 GRP and the reach did not go down, frequency would drop to 10 -- a 25% change. If the frequency did not go down then the reach would have to decline to 45, again a 25% decline. Realistically both reach and frequency should exhibit obvious drops.

Perhaps someone is mistakenly comparing average 4-week reach in the two plan. That comparison would be irrelevant, but be "similar" if not identical.

If you mean that the 8 weeks schedule is compressed into 6 weeks, then there would be an avergae 4 week difference but no budget reduction.

In this case, however "RECENCY" theory would prefer the 8 week version becasue it provides more chances to deliver advertising to the consumer at a time of decision making. This theory may not be appropriate for "image" campaigns.


Wednesday, October 07, 1998 #2078
What is the RECENCY Factor Theory & how is it different from the contemprory theories ?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 07, 1998 ):
There has been considerable discussion of RECENCY here. See the query of October 6, below.


Tuesday, October 06, 1998 #2073
In media jargon, what does RECENCY planning mean?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 06, 1998 ):
Most simply, it's the idea that the message heard closest to the time of purchase decision is most effective. This leads to plans that optimize continuity instead of focusing on achieving a minimum level of GRP's or minimum effective reach for some affordable number of weeks.

The Guru has addressed RECENCY often; try searching the term in the Guru Archives Search Engine.

RECENCY has also been a hot topic on our MediaPlanning and Award-papers e-mail discussions.


Wednesday, September 30, 1998 #2060
Do you knowof any sites where i can find articles on RECENCY Planning ? Would you be able to provide me with Mr. Erwin Ephron's E-Mail address and/or FAX number ? I have tried searching the Web but have not succeeded so far... Thanks Rahul Thappa Account Planning Indian Express Newspapers, Bombay accountplanning-bmy@express2.indexp.co.in

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 30, 1998 ):
There has been considerable and heated recent discussion of RECENCY on AMIC's mediaplanning e-mail discussion list. Telmar's Awards Papers discussion list, created to discuss the papers presented by Erwin, J.P. Jones and Erik Duplessis at the Telmar 30th Anniversary celebration has also discussed RECENCY.

Both of these forums' archives and subscription links are accesible from our Ad Talk and Chats page.

The Guru does not reveal personal contact information for associates. He can tell you that Erwin's company is Ephron Papazian Ephron, in NY City.


Thursday, September 03, 1998 #2026
Both we and our client agree to the RECENCY theory. The problem is that given the retraints of the budget, we are only able to schedule "weekly" advertising for about half the schedule while still achieving minimal weekly TRP threshold levels. Right now we are wrestling with the dilemma of how to schedule these weeks for the first half of the year while still following the principals of the RECENCY theory: (1)12 weeks straight through then a 14-week hiatus (2)6 weeks on, 14 weeks off, 6 weeks on or (3)an alternating schedule of 4 weeks on and 4 weeks off, etc. throughout the period. Do you have any theory on what might be the best approach to maximize return?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 03, 1998 ):
Thinking about a "threshold level" of GRP's is instinctive, but at odds with the essence of RECENCY theory. Review other Guru answers below about RECENCY. Please also see a very interesting discussion of RECENCY on our MediaPlanning e-mail list. The list archives are at Ad Talk and Chats . Why not subscribe to the list and bring your question there as well?


Tuesday, August 25, 1998 #2014
Hi, I would like to know anything regarding setting the minimun level of TRP's, or minimun reach goal. We know how to set the optimun level, but there is a minimun? One point where is better not to advertise at all. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 31, 1998 ):
Any GRPs generate some reach and frequency.

Any reach generates some consumer impact. Setting minima is a matter of judgment and logic.

If you are an adherent of the effective reach theory, you will determine what is your effective level (3+ or more) and what portion of your target you need to reach at that level, to make advertising worthwhile. This determination will tell you either how much time you can be active in advertising or across how much geography. The Guru favors 50% as the portion of target to set as minimum to reach effectively.

If you believe totally in the RECENCY theory, any is a reasonable minimum, because each impression has its greatest chance to produce a sale this way, as it is more likely to produce unduplicated reach at any point in time. Yet, few planners can avoid feeling there should be a minimum, probably because they want to see measured sales movement for some period of time.

In either case, seasonality and purchase cycles will inform the decision.


Monday, August 24, 1998 #2011
We are in the process of planning for a major TV client where we have been applying the RECENCY theory for the past year. Because of the size of the budget we have been limited to around 70TRPs weekly essentially for the entire year. In Year II our client has asked us to consider temporarily abondoning the RECENCY theory and to move dollars (and TRPs) out of the more expensive buying months (April, May) to the relatively more more inexpensive months (January, Feb)and to increase our TRP levels accordingly. Do you have any input on which strategy should/could have more effect on brand performance assuming all other factors are equal (pricing, distribution etc.)?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 24, 1998 ):
First we have to assume that the basis of RECENCY theory is accepted.

RECENCY theory calls for reaching as many people as possible as close to the sale as possible. Thats's why continuity is emphasized for products with little seasonality and regular purchase cycles.

One of the essential elements of RECENCY theory is that not all impressions or GRPs are equal, even in the same programming. You are focusing on cost per point. As you are probably aware, reach developed per GRP decreases with every added GRP in a schedule. There is therefore, a declining return on investment in reach at any point in time, which is why spreading out prospects reached produces the optimal return. The first 10 GRPs bought in a week generate more reach than the last 10 GRPs.

Hence, the added impressions bought when they are cheap produce less sales than the impressions lost from the more expensive times.

So now you have to evaluate what might be produced. Assuming you are lowering -- not eliminating --activity in higher priced periods how many more impressions, and how much more reach can you achieve in low priced times. If you cut back 10 reach points per week in July but buy 20 added reach points per week in March, perhaps the added reach can sell more than the lost reach, or perhaps not. The Guru would look for a 50% minimum trade up in added vs lost reach points to justify the change; i.e. if the plan goes down 10 reach points per week in one period, then it need to go up 15 reach points per week in the other.


Friday, August 07, 1998 #1994
what is RECENCY planning?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 07, 1998 ):
The Guru has discussed RECENCY many times.
  • Go to the Guru Archives and use the search engine there to find past Guru answers about RECENCY
  • or
  • Go to the Ad Talk and Chats area and search the archives of the Award Papers discussion, much of which has been about RECENCY planning.


Monday, August 03, 1998 #1987
Dear Guru, I am new to media planning and have been asked to predict the major changes for media planners over the next five years. can you give me any starters? Thanks in advance

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 03, 1998 ):
Since this must be a training exercise for new planners, isn't asking the Guru cheating? But since this sort of exercise is silly anyway, the Guru will go along; after all nobody would have predicted the media planners' involvement in on-line, five years ago.

Come to think of it, on-line may have been the only major change of the past five years.

For example,the incremental importance of cable and the slow decline of broadcast ratings is not a major change for planners. They face the same questions, but the answers have changed somewhat.

The new millennium, whether one considers the "popular" start date of January 1, 2000, or the actual date of 1/1/2001 will, no doubt, be a time to look for new approaches and focus more on the future. Marketers will finally recognize that the various major ethnic markets: Hispanics -- newly the largest ethnic group -- plus African American, Asian American and smaller minorities will encompass most Americans in the first decade of the new century. This will mean planners must pay far more attention to assessing the importance of and covering these market segments.

Also in the next five years the Guru sees the debate between advocates of "RECENCY" plannning and those backing "effective reach" being settled. Categories of marketing or rules on which to base application of one or the other will be clearly defined and two distinct styles of planning will emerge.

Finally, coming back to online, the internet's amazing growth will max out. No more than 50% of the population is likely to be on-line. The internet universe and internet ratings, on a U.S. basis, will be readily available, so that on-line media will become just another element of media plans. Specialist agencies will fold into general agencies and internet media will have no more mystique than out-of-home.


Tuesday, July 28, 1998 #1977
My question concerns RECENCY planning and how it may or may not be best applied to different business categories. The research and planning models that I have come across regarding RECENCY typically focuses on packaged goods type products. I cannot recall any examples of RECENCY being applied in a retail or QSR planning environment. Do you feel that RECENCY holds any value as a planning approach for a retail and/or QSR account where scheduling typically emphasizes short term flighted promotional windows with a high to low cascading of broadcast weight?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 29, 1998 ):
RECENCY is most particularly relevant for packages goods which have regular, short purchase cycles.

(When an advertiser relies on promotions, the Guru always looks to see whether the advertising is supporting the brand/product or just the promotion).

The best discussion the Guru has seen about applications and exceptions for RECENCY theory occurs in AMIC's Awards Papers e-mail discussion group. Particpants include "Mr. RECENCY," Irwin Ephron, as well as John Philip Jones, Eric DuPlessis, AMIC Publisher Abbott Wool. The archive of the AwardPapers discussion is at Ad Talk/ Chat .

Click here to subscribe to AwardsPapers


Sunday, July 26, 1998 #1974
Dear Guru! I have cilent that wants to know the accumulated reach of a 5 months campaign. The campaign was based on a RECENCY strategy; 4 "flights", each flight - 3 weeks, and a break of about 2 weeks between one flight to another. It seems to me not right to sum up the reach of all 4 flights as a total, but to show each flight by its own results Can you please give your professional advice in this issue? Thanks a lot, Irene, Israel.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 26, 1998 ):
A "RECENCY" strategy generally calls for continuous advertising, not flighting. However this is neither here nor there in responding to your question.

A four-week reach has long been the basic standard of evaluation of a campaign, most likely based on the one time dominance of monthly national magazines in the plans of major consumer goods advertisers -- in the U.S., at least.

"RECENCY" argues for concentrating on the reach at the point in time closest to the purchase decision, so average reach during the typical purchase cycle is a reasonable way to focus on a RECENCY plan. Of course, in reality, despite an average purchase cycle, in most cases, decisions are made every day. You may end your four-week purchase cycle of laundry detergent tomorrow while your neighbor's four week cycle ends a week from Tuesday. Equally, there may be a day of the week of more opportunity than others, when the product is purchased during a main grocery shopping trip.

A five month cume reach can be calculated. Its usefulness is questionable when RECENCY is the guiding principal, but for other issues, like awareness, it may be relevant.


Thursday, June 11, 1998 #1894
what is RECENCY planning

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 24, 1998 ):
The Guru has discussed RECENCY a half-dozen or more time this year. Please return to the Guru main page and select the Archive / search engine to find "RECENCY" topics. Or simply use your <ctrl>-F or browser Find function to locate "receny" references on this page.


Monday, May 18, 1998 #1597
how will media segmentation affect media planning ?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 18, 1998 ):
"Media Segmentation" is a two edged sword. Highly segmented (fragmented) media allows better targeting. But, at the same time, it works against building higher reach levels.

A clever plan will find the best compromise between these two.

The current, "RECENCY" approach to planning can take advantage of the efficiency of reaching lower levels of target consumers on a more continuous basis.


Monday, March 23, 1998 #1541
I need latest info on the RECENCY theory for tv media planning and the general opinion of the industry on this theory.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 30, 1998 ):
Trade publications like Ad Age, Mediaweek and Jou rnal of Advertising Research cover this topic regularly, with articles from Erwin Ephron, Walter Reichel and John Paul Jones.

Newsweek Media Research Index and theAdvertising Research Foundation Library also archive such information.

The Guru believes the industry is still divided on RECENCY vs Effective Reach.


Thursday, March 05, 1998 #1521
What is RECENCY planning and is it different from the method of acquiring effective frequency as a media objective

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 05, 1998 ):
RECENCY planning is quite different than effective frequency planning.

RECENCY planning is based on the premise that the ad exposure closest to the time of purchase decision is far more effective than any other.

Hence flighting, to build up to a given effective frequency, for a shorter period of time will sell less product than having some activity at any time when purchase might be occurring.


Wednesday, February 18, 1998 #1506
I am looking for information on optimization and the RECENCY theory. Have you come across any good reports on this subject relevent to TV buying in the USA?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 18, 1998 ):
The Advertising Research Foundation library is a good source as are the archives of Ad Age and Mediaweek.


Friday, May 17, 1996 #1213
Dear Guru,I have two questions which you might have heard before.
a)I do know that a :15s commercial on TV cost between 50% to 75% of a :30s depending on market etc. Is there any studies that show what the benefit of either length is (if any) in terms of reach, frequency, effectiveness, memorability, etc.
b)I have seen studies praising the advantage of multiple media usage above single media; in other words using TV and radio instead of just TV. Can you elaborate on that and update with new info about this topic. Reason being a client who would like to slash the budget down to just using TV for campaigns. I however feel that there is an added benefit in using multiple media.Please respond by Monday if you can.Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 19, 1996 ):
a) There is is no difference in reach and frequency between a :15 and a :30. In the same time period, they have the same audience, within the tolerances of research measurement.

On the other hand, a schedule using :15's in place of some or all the :30's will provide more reach and frequency, because it has more announcements, hence more GRP, etc, for the same budget.

When :15's started to become popular several years ago, there was considerable research regarding effectiveness versus :30's. The general findings were that :15's had about 70 - 75% of the recall of a :30. At the time, :15's were typically a network option priced at 50% of :30's so the trade off of price vs effectiveness seemed favorable.

b) Multi-media plans chief benefit is in reach development, though the effects of the added reach have ripples in many directions.

Adding a new medium adds more reach than adding weight in the same medium: There are more likely to be different people in the audience of a different medium, over a given period of time. This applies to effective reach as well.

There are a variety of philosophical approaches to taking advantage of this.

One approach says to build reach up to a minimum effective level in the primary medium first, before adding the next medium. Another says build the first medium to the point where the reach curve flattens, then add the next medium to resume reach growth.

A newer, different line of thought, the "RECENCY" theory, de-emphasizes reach in favor of delivering messages to the consumer closest to the point of making a purchas decison. This argues for continuity, to reach more people at all times rather than highest levels in sporadic flights. Again, multi-media will produce more reach, but other theories of minimum weekly levels may effect scheduling, ie radio bought to a minimum of 12x weekly when active.

Judgements must also be made regarding whether TV and radio is perceived as the same message by the consumer. Of course, this same judgement must be applied to different executions in the commercial pool of each individual medium as well.


Tuesday, April 30, 1996 #1231
I'm working on a presentation on how media planning professionals go about determining a media mix, and how a percent of budget is allocated to each medium being used. It's a general presentation for a client who is not very familiar with media planning terminology or methods. So far my sources for info include a couple of similar documents that I and others that I work with have written in the past, and the media planning textbook (by Scissors). Do you know of any other RECENT sources of info, points-of-view, articles on this topic? Or have you answered a similar question recently? If so, please tell me the category under which your response would be filed (I have looked through several categories of your responses and did not see anything relevant to this topic). Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 30, 1996 ):
In the broadest terms, the process may be thought of as

Marketing Goals ---> Marketing Strategies ---> Media Goals ---> Media Strategies ---> Media Tactics, etc.

A very simple example:

A marketing goal of increasing the number of users of product X might lead to a strategy of converting users of competitive brand Y.

The media goal might then be to optimize reach at effective levels of frequency among a demographic group matched to current users of brand Y.

The media strategy to achieve this might then be built by examining various media mixes to determine which produce the best balance of effective reach for the budget, within the creative limitations.

Of course this is just one possible marketing goal, one possible strategy that might emerge.

There are many ways to set reach goals, to set minimum effective levels or decide to apply the recent "proximity" or "RECENCY" theory of exposure.

In short, one doesn't decide on percents of media and see how it turns out, one decides which media will best answer the marketing and media strategies. Often, some creative decisons have precedence: if TV is designated as the "primary medium" because of communications ability, need to demonstrate, etc, then the strategy migh dictate putting all money into TV "until the effective reach curve is exhausted."

There are infinite ways to express and measure goals and their achievment. Some standard media planning software, such as Telmar's Media Maestro, and Hispanic Media Maestro, allow easy examination of various mixes, instantly showing how reach/frequency/effective reach change as budget or schedules are shifted between media by the planner.


Friday, March 15, 1996 #1263
Can you fill me in on "RECENCY"? Sounds like a complicated way to say low media weight, long duration? Is this correct? If so, can it work with a small budget?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 18, 1996 ):
RECENCY does amount to lower weight and longer duration, but allows for more complex discussion. It is a theory which works in opposition to "effective reach." Effective reach is based on the fact that 3, or some other minimum number of exposures to advertising, is necessary for the advertising to be digested, understood and begin to effect consumer behavior.

RECENCY posits that an exposure close to the moment of purchase decision is the most effective, therefore maintaining a constant presence of messages is most likely to catch the prospect at the crucial moment.

Obviously, even within the RECENCY model, the more exposure provided at any given point in time the better the chance of catching a consumer at the critical time. RECENCY argues for continuity, not for low levels, though it is often used to justify low levels.

Recognizing that truly seasonal purchases call for different scheduling than regularly cyclical purchases, the concept says that if a given number of impressions are affordable, all else being equal, those impression will generate more sales when spread consistently rather that concentrated into flights at a presumed "effective" level.



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