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Guru Search Results: 111 matches were found

Thursday, January 23, 2003 #5752
new media theories

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 26, 2003 ):
Click here to see past Guru responses about media theories.

Thursday, January 23, 2003 #5751
Im doing a media planning assignment and require media theories in order to critique my client's current media strategy. Which are the most important theories related to this area of media planning?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 26, 2003 ):
Click here to see past Guru responses about media theories.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003 #5748
i am currently carrying out a project where we have to choose a particular industry where we disagree with their current media strategy. the industry i have chosen has very limited advertising and i was wondering if there are any relevant media theories that agree or disagree with this strategy?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 26, 2003 ):
It is not likley that there is a theory calling for limited advertising, per se, as an on-going practice. theories about ROI or not spending more than can produce appropriate revenue might apply. Limited advertising is more likley to be a matter of marketing decisions made before media strategies come inot play.

Monday, January 06, 2003 #5719
I want to develop a competency grid for my team consisting of senior media planners and media buyers. I want to develop a grid that addresses key functional and general management competencies for both functions - planning and buying.Both planning and buying members have 4 to 5 years of experience and are part of a single large AOR team( of around 12 members) The idea is to have a list of indicators against each competency domain and get each member to fill up such an assessment grid with evidences.This self assessment will then be validated by a panel consisting of me( their supervisor) and my business manager and his boss-the VP on the business. My question is: A.What FUNCTIONAL domains should be included for 1.planning and 2.buying B.What GENERAL mgmt domains should be included for 1.planning and 2.buying Greatly appreciate your feedback and help Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 12, 2003 ):
Current business managment theory seems to be gravitating away from these formaularized assessments. If you must, however, the Guru woul look at


  • Turning input into goals
  • Setting clear goals
  • Clear and persuasive writing
  • Analytical ability
  • Mathematical facitlity
  • Understanding media types
  • Understanding media math


  • Interpersonal ability with teammates
  • Interpersonal ability with superiors
  • Interpersonal ability with clients
  • Interpersonal ability with vendors
  • Managing subordinates
  • Leadership and teaching
  • Setting and keeping work schedules
  • Appreciating company budget/expense
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Contribution to the bottom line

Saturday, January 04, 2003 #5716
I have read somewhere that Krugman's 3-exposure theory did not necesserily imply the need for 3 (or 2 or 4) physical exposures, but only a series of mental steps, which may take place after a series of exposure, or after just one. This seems to have more sense as it places adequate importance on different product/media/circumstance-related, creative and other relevant factors. On the other hand this turns the effective frequency theory into nonsense. What do you think?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 04, 2003 ):
The idea of the 3+ concept then is to assure the other steps occur. Perhaps you are thinking of the explanation of the theory that goes smething like "the first time the information is merely presented, the second exposure causes recognition, and the third causes remembering / accepting / acting or whatever. Rather than leave the latter two steps to the vagaries of chance or psychophysiology, the e second and third ad exposures give some assurance. This is the difference between planning and hoping.

Saturday, January 04, 2003 #5715
Dear Guru: Are there any studies showing the relationship between advertising exposure frequency and sales? Does the effective frequency theory deal with the exposure-sale relationship, or rather exposure-awareness relationship? And in the latter case, is there any study showing the connection between awareness and sales? Thanks, R.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 04, 2003 ):
Try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Friday, January 03, 2003 #5712
Dear Guru I am trying to find information on effective frequency and the 3+ frequency theory. Can you help? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 03, 2003 ):
Go to the Guru Archives Search Engine. Use "effective frequency" as your search term.

The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter is always a good source. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656,

Monday, December 23, 2002 #5703
Do you have any articles on these medias planning theories: *treating on-line media in the same way (applying the same standards) as traditional media, *incorporating minority segments, and *optimization across media types. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, December 23, 2002 ):
For on-line media, see The Internet Advertising Bureau and The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

For incorporating multicultural segments, trade media such as Black Enterprise and Hispanic Magazine have covered this extensively. For more media-specific data see our own publishers' Hispanic Market Weekly Media and Research articles.

For multimedia optimization, look at our sister company's eTelmar / IMC.

Monday, December 16, 2002 #5685
Dear Mr. Guru: What are the most recent mediaplanning theories that have had any significant effect (e.g., effective frequency vs. recency)? Thanks, R.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 19, 2002 ):
Others are
  • treating on-line media in the same way (applying the same standards) as traditional media,
  • incorporating minority segments, and
  • optimization across media types.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002 #5653
What is the thinking behind the "retail strategy" airing TV only Wed-Saturday, other than shopping peaks on the weekend. Is there any media rationale to support it and can it apply to cable as well? Appreciate your thoughts..

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 06, 2002 ):
This is the frequency theory as opposed to the recency theory. Some feel that there is added effectiveness in wall-to-wall presence, and for products moslty sold in the weekend shopping periods, it makes sense to concentrate on these days, if any. It's about consumer patterns not media, so it applies (or doesn't) equally to TV newspaper, radio or cable.

An interesting corollary phenomenon is that some media will offer discounts for Sunday-Tuesday schedules.

Sunday, October 13, 2002 #5559
Is there any advantage in GRP backloading within a Tv flight?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 13, 2002 ):
There may be some measurable effects, but not that the Guru would broadly characterize as advantages. One theory says that holding back the weight until most of the target has had three exposures, is beneficial. The Guru is not convinced that this is truly advantageous, over time.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002 #5441
Dear Guru, please solve our argument. We (media agency) are always arguing with creative agencies what size of the creative material should be. We prefer smaller ads or shorter spots, because they are cheaper and we can achieve better media results (Reach and Frequency), and the creative people like a bigger ones. How could we estimate the optimal size?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 30, 2002 ):
By the theory you express, all ads would be the smallest possible, just to get big reach and frequency numbers. Of course, this is ludicrous.

Creatives like bigger ads because they have more impact, and this thinking simplistically disregards the impact of a total schedule.

You need to begin by establishing what will be the standard ad, one that communicates effectively and with adequate impact, however that is defined. Typically :30 TV of page, 4c magazines are such standards. From there, you can make sensible arguments about whether R&F gains with smaller ads are worthwhile or whether the losses through larger ads are.

Thursday, July 18, 2002 #5421
Our client, an italian luxury firm, is planning the fall -winter campaign. They need to get results very quickly (sell of products) but also to "rebuild" the brand, which in the past years didn't advertise at all. They would prefer to put most of budget on newspaper to get frequency but in our opinion the magazines should have at least 1/3 of the total budget to help "building" the brand. What do you think?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 20, 2002 ):
What are the reasons you think magazines do a better job of building the brand? Articulate them. Is it environment? Reproduction quality? Authority?

Why does newspaper frequency = quick sales? Is there a strong retail trade relationship. Deconstruct the theories and evaluate how the media can be mixed?

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 #5367
Is there any data or research that supports the theory that daytime (Midday) radio has passive listeners? Are the mid day listeners less likely to act upon a message? Are they too distracted by work that they might not even hear the message? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 22, 2002 ):
The Guru has not encountered this specific theory. He has heard of radio listeners being passive generally -- isn't driving distracting, too?

For research start with The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB)

Tuesday, June 18, 2002 #5363
I was curious.... is there any correlation between recall of an ad and the context of the program? (I saw one recently... on Scrubs, for a J&J spot celebrating nurses)... but wondered if there is any higher recall.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 22, 2002 ):
There is a theory that a connection of ad to environment enhances communication, not necessarily recall versus other "impact" benefits. For research try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Friday, May 31, 2002 #5316
I am working with a new client and need to do a presentation on media planning and buying. No problem. However, he also wants me to tell him "Why Advertising Works." I am planning on looking at some sales reports and doing some case studies, as well as looking at competitive sales in his marketplace. Can you offer any other suggestions on where to start?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 02, 2002 ):
Remeber to focus on why. You seem to be thinking of "whether." Look into theory, perhaps through The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 #5297
I am writing a POV for a client on radio frequency levels. Are there any guidelines or general principles on weekly and 4-wk frequency goals for national radio? I haven't been able to find anything through the RAB.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 26, 2002 ):
There are many theories. Other than buying 12 spots per station per week, in local radio, there are few standard points of agreement, and even the 12 spot theory is not absolute.

For example, in some situations, such as Black or Hispanic radio, where ratings levels can be 8 or better; GRPS for 12 spotrs can be 100 or more and you are really buying reach more than frequency, attitudes about frequency will change.

Then, are you talking about spots-per-week frequency or average frequency of exposure? The answer will again change depending on what other media are in the plan.

The Guru feels that all this and more need to be taken into consideration, rather than look for general rules.

Thursday, May 16, 2002 #5287
Dear Guru, I was presenting media new business pitch recently and an AE chimed in and said somehting that puzzled me. We were discussing buying power and clout and he said that smaller agencies (such as ours) are better at buying because larger agencies buy huge amounts and give the larger accounts the "better" spots and that smaller accounts at large agencies get the dregs. I have always ourchased space on a per account basis and never a bulk buy. Do large agencies just by a bunch of space and hope their accounts stay with them? Also, I always thought that it was illegal to make clients purchase through you in order to get rate deals. I thought that the whole issue of clout stayed with the client because it's their money. Any insight? I want to straighten him out if he's wrong. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 18, 2002 ):
  1. AE's should be told to shut up during media presentations, rather than relating their favorite old wives' tales
  2. No one should ever contradict a selling point being made by someone on their own team during a presentation
  3. The theory is ludicrous, because:

    *If a large agency had so much clout, maybe their worst spots would be better than a small agency's good spots

    *On a given network, particular spots are not essentially better or worse except by virtue of total audience; different advertisers want different targets and program types

    *Why would a big agency want to treat smaller clients that way, anyway?

  4. It is probably true that a smaller client will get better service at a smaller agency where they matter more, but if you extend this theory, then the smaller agency's smallest clients get dumped on too, and so on.
  5. Networks do sell spots to CLIENTS through the agency, not TO the agency. The agency does not have the right to resell or reassign the spots to another advertiser.
  6. Large agency buyers do have clout by virtue of the amount of business they do with a seller, but this does not neccessarily mean it shows in the schedules. A skilled buyer can outperform a less skilled buyer who has a larger budget
  7. Because pricing goes throughout a large advertiser's buy, the size can act aginst best pricing. Networks do fear that a great price may let too much inventory go at too low a price, so on any given day a smaller advertiser may get better pricing than a larger one.
  8. In spot advertising, there are some time banks available for resale, but forewarned is forearmed
  9. Tell your AE to go back to his used car lot.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 #5279
DEAR Guru, advertising a car model can you explain the connections between the target market, the product and the communictaions campiagn? also what are the ad/disadvantages of each method of media when preparing a media campiagn?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 18, 2002 ):
Most simply: Various brands of products have appeal to specific demographics. For existing brands, these ddemographics can be discerned by analyzing survey research, often syndicated studies such as MRI, Simmons and The Mendelsohn Media Research Affluent Study. Proprietary, "custom" research is also used.

The working theory is that the best advertising target is people similar to current purchasers. New models or programs aimed at changing the purchaser appeal may have variants based on the profile of competitive models, speculation or other research, including qualtitative types.

Communications is then planned to reach the same target, and to place advertising in a supportive environment, that relates to the product, target lifestyle, image goals of the brand, etc.

For some comparisons of media, see the Guru's media strengths page.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002 #5245
how to go about planning effective enternet advertising

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 28, 2002 ):
Internet planning is not a well established art. Everyone doing it has a theory. You might find a useful book in AMIC Bookstore (in association with

Tuesday, April 09, 2002 #5209
what influence has John Philip Jones had on the subject of studies(advertising)? What is the value of his theories for the adveritisement business?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 15, 2002 ):
There are two ways to look at this.

One that Jones' influence is enormous, because he has pioneered in many standard-setting techniques, widely accepted by the more technically oriented advertising practicioners. or

Unfortunately limited because the vast majority of advertising decisions are made by those uninterested in or unaware of such tools, albeit more dollars may be spent with use of the tools.

Monday, February 18, 2002 #5092
I have a National Cable TV plan that we estimate will deliver a reach/frequency of 33/5.5 if run for four consecutive weeks. I have 7 networks planned. My question is this: What would happen to reach and frequency if I scheduled the same 180 GRP's as two weeks on, two weeks off, two weeks on. My estimate is that the reach may increase slightly.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 18, 2002 ):
On the theory that there are always a very few people who do not watch in any finite period, but may be caught across a longer period, you are probably correct. The opportunity to capitalize on this aspect of reach is probably better by spreading the weight over the same weeks than by flighting, but the differences are likely infinitesimal.

Friday, January 11, 2002 #4996
do you know of any theories relating to consumer liking and trust for different media, and how this results on their effectiveness?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 15, 2002 ):
There was a ratings service, TAA (?) built around this theory in the '80's, but it never caught on. For other thoughts, try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Saturday, October 27, 2001 #4835
What wins ad size or frequency? Are there any case studies or research available that proves either theory? Your assistance is greatly appreciated to help settle this debate.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 28, 2001 ):
What wins what?

The Guru finds that frequency will do better at generating awareness, recall or reach. Size may convey a different impression of "importance." Frequency is probably better for sales, but ad size may be better for image or to convey certain highly graphic ideas.

Wednesday, October 24, 2001 #4818
Have you ever heard the term "social capital" used in relation to advertising or marketing objectives? I have a client that uses this term often, and although he uses it in a branding context, I want to make sure I'm not missing out on a new, or not so new, concept or theory. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 24, 2001 ):
According to Civic Practices Network:
"Social capital refers to those stocks of social trust,in norms and networks that people can draw upon to solve common problems. Networks of civic engagement, such as neighborhood associations, sports clubs, and cooperatives, are an essential form of social capital, and the denser these networks, the more likely that members of a community will cooperate for mutual benefit."

This sociological concept may apply well to public relations or corporate imaging, particularly if it is important to the advertiser to appear public spirited. Oil companies, hospitals and political parties / candidates may find this reference appropriate. Or it may merely be a pretentious way of phrasing image goals in the case of consumer products.

Friday, June 29, 2001 #4539
Dear M.G., A client asked me for some textbook rule of thumb on the relationship between share of market and share of voice. He is asking in the context of determining whether to spend more in a market where our brand is weak and the category is average/weak (i'd estimate the BDI/CDI is probably 50/80. can you suggest a book or site that offers a good discussion on whether to invest more, or whether you're throwing good money after bad, or if you have specific thoughts on this, I'd appreciate hearing them. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 01, 2001 ):
The Guru's general theory is that -- all else being equal -- growth comes from increased share of voice. Many operate on the theory that added spending should go where sales are well developed; BDI emphasis. Others feel that share gap, such as your 50/80 indicate room to grow.There are some useful texts in the AMIC Bookstore (in association with

Thursday, May 17, 2001 #4412
Where can I find a template or example of Televsion buying guidelines (i.e. client dictated programming to stay out of) to give to my broadcast buyer?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 21, 2001 ):
Some advertisers have ratings minima, some have restrictions aimed at better reach, such as limiting episodes of strip programming.

Some have content restrictions, such as sex, violence, social or political issues or other controversies. In any case the details are usually treated as trade secrets and no "template" should be neccessary, just clear language. Also, since any restrictions work against efficiency, none should be used withouot good reason. For example, sometimes there is a bar against ratings below "X," on the theory that statistical tolerances will sometimes mean that rating dps to nothing. In reality, statistical tolerances swing one way as often as the other and the overall tolerance of a schedule's GRPs won't be much affected by the inclusion of some lower rated programs to make packages efficient.

Monday, May 07, 2001 #4372
Dear Guru, this question was last asked in 1997. I would love to hear your comments based on current(2001) and beyond...your opinion on the changing shape of the media environment. How the media is changing for the near future, what are the main trends in the media and how will it change the media planning? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 07, 2001 ):
In 1997, the Guru said

Media have always changed. Once there were only print media and billboards. Then radio, then TV. Not only do new media arise, but the numbers of media vehicles of each type of each type proliferate. The web is only the latest and most explosive example of this proliferation. What causes the changes for the planner is the availability of research and hard facts on which to base decisions, rather than using theory. One of the biggest changes may be the growing emphasis on direct response models for evaluating media effectiveness, rather than awareness, recall, or requests for additional information. Or is it the ability to apply computer models to planning?

Today, the emphasis on the new has shifted to internet. Its importance as media must always be kept distinct from the prblrms of dot-com's business models. In 1997 the direct response issue and internet were moslty on the same track: click rate and sell-through. Today CRM is the buzz word and the webs' data capture and branding ability fit well with marketings new emphasis on those two issues.

The Guru believes that other technologies promoted as the coming thing will continue to languish until they give the user more than they demand of him/her, these are interactive TV and wireless internet.

Saturday, May 05, 2001 #4370
can you think of any media related theory to user's (negative or positive) attitudes to internet advertising?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 06, 2001 ):
Attitudes may relate to placement, load time and relvance of the site, etc. These all might be considered media related.

Try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Monday, April 30, 2001 #4348
Have a client that questioned the use of Recency planning for a packaged goods product launch in spot market television. I've read all questions/answers from 2000 in the archives and found it curious that no one questioned the fact that the levels used for standard recency planning of 60-80 TRPs per week refer to MEDIUM EXPOSURE not ADVERTISING EXPOSURE. Considering that probably only 40% of the commercial message will even register, aren't these levels low (clutter factor), even if they are spread across multiple weeks (in this case 9)?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 01, 2001 ):
A: Medium exposure is the readily available planning metric.

B: Recency has been keyed to measured results from media exposure levels.

C: The media exposure levels referenced in Recency are -- and this is important -- REACH, not GRP. The reach threshhold is thought to be about 30 - 35, which might tie to various GRP levels, depending on media mix.

D: If best sales success is tied to sustained reach minima of 35, then that is the metric to connect with. The fact that the less readily available ad exposure or attentiveness-weighted GRPs are some other number is an artifact of the process, not a contradiction to the theory.

Thursday, February 15, 2001 #4184
What are your thoughts on attaching software to a client's phone that reports when the phone rang in relation to the TV spot that is airing at the time. It is used as a way of measuring how successful your direct response commercial is. I am skeptical, because people don't get off the couch to call immediately, especially for high priced items like replacement windows for your home.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 18, 2001 ):
The general theory seems to be that direct response calls are fairly close in time to message exposure. Many DR ads use phrases like "call in the next 20 minutes and we'll include a free something" to help the process along. This measure of DR is standard. If you can demonstrate that the reponse is less timely in your category, do so.

Thursday, January 04, 2001 #4077
Can you recommend any sources for articles on aperture theory?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 05, 2001 ):
The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Sunday, December 10, 2000 #4031
Dear Guru, Do you know where I could find information about qualitative rating, I mean to someting that can't be measured and refer to the involvement of the viewers? or abuot the "context effect" theory. Thank you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 10, 2000 ):
Measuring or rating "something that can't be measured" is quite a challenge. Some have used regularity of viewing episodes as an involvement measure. For the most comprehensive answer, see The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Monday, November 20, 2000 #3976
We have as a client a national family style restaurant chain. Our TV media is based on impressions with 25% running in prime, 25% fringe and the rest is daytime. Many of our spots are falling in the court shows which deliver well; however, the client feels the environment of these court shows will downgrade their image because of overall program content and other advertisers in these types of programs. Seems they are full of TV lawyers, etc. Are their any studies that agree or disagree with this?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 24, 2000 ):
First the Guru's theories:

1. When people like a program, they don't think badly of advertisers who support it, even if many other people do not respect the program.

2. Guilt by association with other advertisers is certainly possible, but again, if people like these sleazy court programs why would they attach negative connotations based on other, highly relevant advertisers?

For real research on the point, if the syndicator isn't helpful, try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Wednesday, November 15, 2000 #3972
I'm a newcomer to the site and I very much enjoy your bright responses. Re recency, you write >a core concept of recency is that once the third exposure is delivered, all additonal exposures are at 3+.< That concept belongs to Herb Krugman, ("Why Three Exposures May Be Enough.")whose work was misread as supporting effective frequency. The corresponding core concept of recency is a single exposure within a short planning interval is most cost-effective. These results in moderate TRP's and more weeks of advertising. When heavier weight is called for (i.e., new product introductions), instead of accepting random frequency, recency shortens the planning interval and maintains a solus reach goal. Planning for continuous reach produces a better distribution of frequency. My apology for this somewhat truncated explanation. I can provide greater detail if you'd like. Erwin

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 16, 2000 ):

As the leading industry writer on the topic, your comments are greatly appreciated, and you'll have to excuse the Guru for using your own writings in his reply.

Maybe "seminal" concept would be a better term than "core" concept when the Guru cites this Krugman principal, since it is more part of the evolution than structure of recency.

Perhaps connecting the concepts himself, but gathering them from your own articles, such as Learned Any Ads Lately?, the Guru sees the concept that all additional exposure are at 3+, as part of the underpinnings of Recency. Because this idea gets us past the effective frequency issue, the -- superior, in the Guru's opinion -- Recency theory surmounts objections from the effective frequency camp.

Monday, October 30, 2000 #3928
What is the typical awareness decay when advertising goes off air? Specifically, we have been running a campaign since April, 2000 consisting of Cable TV, Print, Internet, and some guerilla media. The current total plan delivers 75/15.2/1138 against A12-24.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 02, 2000 ):
One theory says each weeks awarness is about 90% of the prior weeks' when there is no advertising. Of course one would expect this to vary depending on other advertising in the market, how high awareness had risen, current share of market, etc.

Friday, October 27, 2000 #3922
Can you clarify the difference between a pulsing strategy and a burst stratgey? And are either one contradictory to or in support of the recency theory?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 30, 2000 ):
As the Guru sees it, "pulsing" refers to alternating, short and equal flights of advertising and periods of hitaus. Burst refers to sporadic higher levels, with no particular flight vs hiatus rhtym, nor equality of levels.

Pulsing is clearly contrary to recency. Bursts, if they are sporadic higher levels within lower level, continuous activity are not totally at odds with recency.

Friday, October 27, 2000 #3919
Do you know of a theory that analyzes when it is ok for an advertiser to go dark with advertising?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 30, 2000 ):
Assuming sales occur constantly, going dark is never "ok." There are many theories about when it is les of problem. And known times to be quiet, such as following particularly bad publicity, like airlines after a plane crash.

Wednesday, August 30, 2000 #3766
Dear Mr. Media, I would have a question regarding the theory and research about positions in TV commercial breaks. Is it worth paying the premium for 1st in break... When it is worth paying... Thank you, MissM

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 01, 2000 ):
The only advantage would be catching the viewwer before their attention goes elsewhere. This can be the difference between your commercial being seen and not seen, but for what portion of users?

Research on the topic would be available thorugh The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Thursday, August 24, 2000 #3746
Media Guru(s), Hopefully will not humiliate myself with this question: When planning a trade campaign (target is Neurologists,and GPs) how do I determine the time frame for reach/frequency? I have set effective freq. at 4. Is this over a 4 week period? Can it be over a quarter? I cannot achieve a 4 week freq. of 4 against the Neurologists, but I can against the GPs. Does this mean that using trade print to reach the neurologists is not effective/appropriate? How do I rationalize a 4 week r/f delivery time frame for the one target group and a quarterly time frame for the other? Or am I totally missing the mark in both cases??? R.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 28, 2000 ):
The "standard" period for evaluating reach and frequency is 4 weeks or a month, if all print.

When considering effective frequency, some thinkers believe that every exposure after the crtical number is achieved is delivered effectively. This is a cornerstone of the "Recency" theory. So, you can think abouit your effective levels on a rolling, cumulative basis, and merely state that effectivene reach is being delivered to GPs as of "X" point in time and against neurologists as of "Y" point in time.

Wednesday, August 02, 2000 #3666
Ref. question 3663 Thanx for answering my question. I buy slots with high eff. index when my objective is to accumulate GRP's and drill my message into my consumers mind. This is the secondary stage where after creating the initial reach i focus on accumulating greatest total number of impressions (Funnel Treatment). As for the decay factor it reflects the decrease in the recall leval when advertising is reduced or stoped. I normally use 10% decay level in IMphase(IM horizontal planning technologies) The question that i want to ask you is what is the better way of flighting. There is a 70's 3+ eff frequency model by Prof. MacDonald which says that brusting is a better flighting patteren.On the other hand there is more recent Recency concept championed by Prof. JP Jones of Syracuse university of NY which says that as far as FMCG goods are concerned people are in the market every week and infect only needs one OTS to stimulate purchase.Please comment MY second question is how do you calculate Eff Frequency. Normally i use Eff frequency model where i calculate the eff frequency by applying judgement and common sence in a disciplined manner using Marketing, Advertising and competitive factors Thanx Sarwar Khan Media Manager R-Lintas Lahore,Pakistan

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, August 06, 2000 ):
1. In regard to 3+ effective frequency versus recency, the Guru tends to favor recency for "Fast Moving Consumer Goods." Recency is not really a contrast to the 3+ frequency theory, but an extension. As championed by Erwin Ephron, a core concept of recency is that once the third exposure is delivered, all additional exposures are at 3+.

2. Once again, there seems to be a semantic issue when you say "calculate" effective frequency. If you mean setting the frequency level to be considered effective, then your "judgment and common sence in a disciplined manner using Marketing, Advertising and competitive factors are the right approach, and the Ostrow Model will be helpful.

If instead, you mean to calculate the effective frequency delivered by your schedule, this has absolutely nothing to do with the subjective factors you have listed. A reach model determines how many persons are exposed to each discrete number of ad units in the schedule. That is if your reach is 75%, that means, explicitly, that 75% of the target has experienced one or more ad exposures. Within this, perhaps 70% of the target has been exposed to 2 or more, 66% to 3 or more, etc, up to the full number of units in the schedule. Reach models allow for expressing all of these levels. "Effective reach" mean those reached at least the minimum number of times established as effective, most typically 3.

Wednesday, May 31, 2000 #3514
My company publishes a 5 column tabloid newspaper. In order to cushion small retail advertisers from an upcoming double-digit rate increase (to offset rising newprint costs), I'm considering changing to a 6 column format. The theory is that we can convert small ad sizes to the new format, keep existing business at approximately the same rate per insertion for slightly smaller sizes (i.e., convert 1/10 Pages to 1/12 pages), and gain greater efficiencies and a higher yield per page. Are there any case studies that you're aware of that examine this scenario?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 01, 2000 ):
The Newspaper Advertising Association would be a good source of such studies.

Wednesday, April 26, 2000 #3424
I'm doing a campaign for a small restaurant chain with a relatively small budget. The goal is to drive traffic for lunch. I'm going to run in the AM and afternoon drives. Is it really necessary to have a 3 frequency if I'm going to be on the top 3 stations on the same programs each day at the same time over a period of 8 weeks? The schedules that I'm getting back show in the low 2's.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 27, 2000 ):
The common reference to a goal of "3 frequency" which you may have heard stems from century-old learning theory which found that 3 repetitions of information were required for it to be "learned" and acted upon. Many media planners use this theory and so specifically consider how many members of their target they are reaching at least 3 times.

You, however, seem to be looking at the average frequency of a schedule, which is different. Any schedule with at least three annoucements will have some portion of its reach exposed to 3 repetions. You need to decide what portion of your audience should be reached three times. YOu need to judge this by looking at the combination of all stations: you may be looking at individual stations reach and frequencies.

Finally, you may consider the full 8 week schedule. A station may be reporting to you only the one week reach and frequency, if you haven't specified, all stations, full cume.

With a schedule of just two dayparts on three stations you are probably getting a fairly low reach at high frequency and this is a completely different sort of consideration than the "3 frequency" issue.

Many planners today are abandoning the effective reach (3+) approach in favor of "recency," the concept that the exposure closest to a purchase decision is the most effective one. You plan might agree more with this approach if it has enough weekly reach.

Monday, April 24, 2000 #3413
Which medium (TV, radio, print, direct mail)does the Internet have the highest duplication with in terms of usage?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 24, 2000 ):
This question isn't really answerable as stated. TV, Radio, Print and (in theory) direct mail reach everyone, including all internet users. So, with this broad question, all media are tied at 100% duplication.

Specific schedules of traditional media , specific DM lists and specific web sites will have different duplication rates, and different frequency distributions. Or, you could determine something like "webusers are less likely to be heavy viewers of TV than heavy readers of magazines."

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.

Wednesday, March 08, 2000 #3296
Guru, does the sum of individual monthly effective reach equal the total compaign effective reach? (e.g. 3 month campaign - month 1=10%, month 2=10%, month 3=10%. Total campaign = 30% effec. reach?? Should/could there be a discrepancy as large as 10% between the sum and the total? Thanking you in advance, R.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 08, 2000 ):
The Guru wonders how you could get such an idea. In your theory, reach would be 120 after a year! Reach, as you surely know, is a percentage of the universe, and cannot excedd 100%

As in any other combination of reaches, there is some duplication between the effective reach of one month's schedule and the next.

The difference between reality and your addition could easily surpass 100% over time.

Sunday, February 27, 2000 #3254
I would like to have information about typical rates of frequency that are considered necessary for advertising to be effective on different media. I would like information for television, radio, outdoor and print advertising. If there is such information, I would also like information for internet ads. In short, how many times does an ad need to be seen on different media before for an effective reach. Thank you...

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 27, 2000 ):
Most judgements about effective frequency are just that; judgements. The traditional number, 3, is based on century-old learning theory about repetitions of information needed for learning to occur. This theory is not medium-specific but has many other aspects.

Click here to see past Guru responses about this and the Ostrow model

Research by DoubleClick about "banner burnout" shows that internet ads lose effectiveness (in the sense of causing clicks) by the third repetition. Of course, if you want to apply this approach to internet advertisng then you would be considering the awareness-building and sales-driving aspects of banners, rather than click-thru.

Wednesday, January 12, 2000 #3114
Why don't Agencies hold radio to the same standards of TV in terms of posting. I understand there are flaws in measurement (as with TV) however, shouldn't radio stations be held accountable for under-delivering the points they project? Clear Channel has even made it a corporate policy to NOT post and, since they own such a large percentage of radio stations in many markets, it's virually impossible to "buy around" them. Any suggestions on how to make these radio stations more accountable?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 12, 2000 ):
Spot Radio ratings typically appear quarterly, meaning that there isn't an opportunity, during a buy, to monitor how the buy performs and to add weight if necessary.

Spot TV, even where weekly reporting is available is not usually sold with an audience guarantee.

Network radio, like network TV is sold on a guarantee basis.

The old theory, that radio ratings were too subject to statictical bounce, due to limited sample size behind any given rating and that therefor neither buyer nor seller could be sure of performance, still holds.

Radio buys can be guaranteed if

  • There is agreement that the buy must deliver the GRPS, based on actual air times and ratings in a report which is available at the time the buy is made
  • If the agency insists adamantly that a guarantee is a condition of the buy.

Saturday, January 08, 2000 #3102
In Brazil we can't find good books with media theory. I'd like your suggestion of good american media books so I can recomend them to my college students here in Brazil. I am looking for elementary books and advanced ones. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 09, 2000 ):
See the selections in the media planning shelves of the AMIC Bookstore (in association with

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.

Wednesday, December 01, 1999 #3009
Does position of the ad make a difference to the impact of the ad ? An ad in the Front Page of a newspaper one could safely assume has a higher impact, but what about Page X v/s Page y or a Right Hand Page v/s a Left Hand Page? Do you know of any study on this topic ? Thanks & Regards

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 01, 1999 ):
The theories prefer forward pages to rea pages and right han over left. Specific cases relating to specific editorial content may override the generalities.

Starch is the best known source of this kind of research.

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

Thursday, October 21, 1999 #2895
Dear Guru,I want to know why ad agencies work with standards like a 15 % commission. Why are these norms like - commission on gross or net amount followed as a standard? When are the commissions charged on gross amount and when on the net amount? For ex. why only 15 % but not any other figure. Similar norms are followed when charging for media space/ time bought by a client. I have read your answers on the concept of 3 + frequency for ads. Could you please provide similar information for the aforementioned norms and the various norms/ standards followed during billing by ad as well as media buying houses and Agencies of Records. I would also be obliged if you could direct me to any site which provides this information.( The commission rates which I have mentioned are followed in India. Are they the same worldwide?) Thanking you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 21, 1999 ):
15% of the gross media cost has been the standard for so many years that no one questions the rationale any longer, though many big budget advertisers negotiate other deals, and many small budget advertisers must pay a different fee. When commission is based on net, 17.65% is used to get the same proportions.

Not all media have always used 15%. It used to be common for outdoor to base prices in 16.67% of gross, on the theory that more work was required of the agency for "riding the boards." Some media only publish net rates which agencies must mark up. These media are typically smaller locally oriented ones useed to selling direct to advertisers. Internet web sites often quote net rates as well.

On other items and services which agencies purchase for clients, such as production the 17.65% of net is commonly used.

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.

Wednesday, September 22, 1999 #2814
Hi Guru The ad agency I work for has a theory that cable GRP's and radio GRP's effectivenesss are significantly less than network and spot television. On our flow charts we only calculate 1/2 half of these points. I have heard this theory before but I've never seen a plan that cuts the GRP's in half. What do you think?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 23, 1999 ):
The Guru has been aware of theories that use effectiveness factors in comparing media. Sometimes GRP are adjusted on the flow chart, but since the flow chart often serves as the buying control document, more often the adjustments are shown in reach and frequency comparisons.

There can certainly be an argument that radio has less effectiveness than TV, commercial exposure versus commercial exposure, all else being equal. But, the argument doesn't seem to be rationale for cable TV. The commercial is the same, the presentation is the same. Unless there are objective measures of attentiveness or clutter or recall used, why is cable less effective? Individual commerical audience size is not relevent to message effectiveness of the medium; one consumer is not aware of how may others are watching the same program.

Monday, September 20, 1999 #2808
Hi Guru!For maintainence level of advertising for an established brand, on TV why is an OTS of three considered to be a minimum ? Or does no such rule of thumb exsist?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 20, 1999 ):
The 3x rule-of-thumb is based on studies dating back over 100 years to a researcher named Ebbinghaus. He determined that it required 3 repetitions of a string of nonsense syllables for them to be retained by experimental subjects.

Advertising researchers extended the research to posit that only after three exposures to a message would a consumer understand, recall and be prepared to act on the information. Media planners then started using an average frequency (as in "Reach and Frequency") of 3 as a minimum.

More recently, the concept of effective reach has used the theory that only those exposed at least 3 times should be counted as "effectively reached." So, for example, a media plan with an average four week reach / frequency of 76 / 5.2 might reach 50% of the target 3 or more times.

Some planners will evaluate several issues surrounding the copy, competition and media options to decide what effective level is appropriate and set a level of 4 or 6, etc. Of course, this is meaningless without also setting a reach goal at the stated frequency level. A plan that delivers 50 reach at 3+ might also deliver 42 at 4+, 33 at 5+ etc, so there is an issue of the goal versus the level at which the plan is examined.

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.

Friday, September 03, 1999 #2766
Hi Guru, What exactly is the Ostrow Model ? How useful is it to the clients ? Is it the last word ? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 03, 1999 ):
The Ostrow Model with which the Guru is familiar is a grid used to set the correct level of effective frequency at which plans will be evaluated.

20+ factors relating to competitive climate, product involvement, clutter, commercial length, commercial pool, etc are each rated on a scale, say from 2 to 6, which is then averaged to set the frequency level.

Is it the last word? Is it useful to clients? There is always another theory about anything. The usefulness is in creating a reational, well thought-through basis for establishing communiations goals, so that planners can present a logical approach to clients. The approach makes good sense, for those who follow the effective reach style of planning.

Monday, August 02, 1999 #2682
what is considered the effective number of insertions over a year in 1.) daily newspapers, 2.) monthly magazines, 3.) bi-monthly magazines, 4.) weekly magazines. My client's campaign is business to business. We buy print such as WSJ, Forbes, etc and trade print. I can answer this on a common sense basis, keeping in mind the 3+ effective frequency theory, but is there research on what levels are most effective/optimal?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 06, 1999 ):
First, review adjacent Query #2693 for comment on setting effective frequency.

Traditional planning has various theories about minimum levels in print media. It used to be common to set a minimum of one issue out of four in publications with frequencies ranging from weekly to monthly. Weekly frequency was more the norm in newspapers.

But this all has to be taken in a context of

  • whether print is the only medium
  • whether print is the primary or secondary medium
  • How deep is the print list

Effective 4 week frequencies above 3 are difficult to acheive in the print media you list; effective reach like this is more the province of broadcast, while print is more often aimed at depth of message.

For research on print reach / frequency and effectiveness try Newsweek Media Research Index and the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Friday, July 16, 1999 #2640
In recent years, more companies have been using Direct Response TV buys to maximize cost efficiencies. However, one drawback to this type of buying is the low clearance level of spots selected. Are there any statistics or research on predicting clearance levels for DRTV buys during the year (e.g., quantifiable factors for seasonality)? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 23, 1999 ):
The inventory pressure logically follows the cpm indices, which are widely available, but in any given week, surprises may occur. Since, in theory, DR advertiing pays for itself, you merely need to find a level to order that is sure to be more than the clearance will be. Whatever runs, runs, If more runs than you anticipated, it should pay off in added orders.

Thursday, July 15, 1999 #2635
I am looking to determine whether we should advertise on TV during Christmas/New Year's or not. Historically we have not advertised during that period, but we would like to reconsider. Are there any guidelines on this, particularly for an insurance product that is not seasonal? Is there a way of looking at costs/benefits to evaluate whether we should advertise during the holidays? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 15, 1999 ):
First, look at the historical sales pattern your product experiences. If you can't afford to advertise continuously, focus on better sales periods.

The theory of avoiding Christmas because of more clutter doesn't stand up to examination, but at Christmas time, people's attention is on the holiday and more cheap, quicky commercials seem to air and create a cluttered feeling.

On the other hand, because of these theories, advertising prices are often down at and just after Christmas, so bargains abound if you can take advantage.

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

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).

Wednesday, March 10, 1999 #2379
My supervisor said it is impossible to figure an average 4 week r/f if the flight is shorter than four weeks, but i remember doing it on another account. Can you please confirm who is correct, and how to figure it out if I am? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 10, 1999 ):
You're correct. There are a few workable approaches to this.
  1. One says that whatever GRPs run within four weeks are the GRPs that count in figuring an average 4-week R&F, whether these GRPs are spread over one, two or three weeks. So, if you have two weeks at 100 GRP/week you have the same average four week R&F as you would for 200 GRP across four weeks; it could just as well have been 50 GRP/week for 4 weeks or 67 GRP/week for 3 weeks.
    The Guru supports the above theory.
    A small exception might be made for one week schedules, where actual data shows that, for radio in particular, a given number of GRP run in one week delivers slightly higher reach than the same GRP spread over four weeks, due to listening patterns.

  2. Another approach uses "when-in" data. Here, if you run 100 GRP/week during your flights and your flights are two weeks in and two weeks out, then you do your R&F as if you had 100 GRP/week for four weeks. Using this theory, you get the same result for 100 GRP/week two in, two out, as you do for two in, four out, which, to the Guru, is clearly quite a different communication level.

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.

Friday, February 12, 1999 #2329
I am trying to find information pertaining to cost per click through ad rates on the internet. Do you have any information pertaining to average cost? As well as CPM's on the web. The Research Monitor section of your website provides Pricing Web Site Advertising (The Media Buyers View) white paper, but it is dated a few years back. Is it still relevant? Thanking you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 13, 1999 ):
The excellent compilation of internet news and research at NUA includes price data.

The pricing article's theories and concepts are still relevant, though specific prices mentioned may be out of date.

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

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

Thursday, January 07, 1999 #2254
What is the reasoning that the CPM for terrestrial TV is higher than that of cable channel? Theoreticallay, the cost to reach 1000 people via TV media should be the same.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 08, 1999 ):
The Guru wonders what theory you believe you are using? There can be no such theory or else all TV everywhere through all means other than cable would have the same cpm.

Differences which account for cpm variance include audience size, mechanical and manhour effort to deliver the programming, commercial load, commercial inventory, supply and demand and perceived program quality.

Obviously all but possibly the last one mentioned are vastly different for various forms of terrestrial (broadcast) TV and cable.

And, of course there are cases where cable has a lower cpm than some broadcast choices.

Monday, December 07, 1998 #2205
I work with network radio and have a client that only wants to advertise 3 :30s a week (M-F / 6am-12midnite) for 12 weeks. Would you recommend us scheduling consecutive days each week using the same days every week? Is there a model to follow with these type of schedule? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, December 07, 1998 ):
In the Guru's opinion, such an insignificant schedule will not be much affected by any scheduling techniques. 3 spots per week for 12 weeks, or 36 total spots would be a erasonable 2 or three week schedule if you were buying three or four networks' similar schedules each week.

Assuming you are on some a very good network, averaging 2 target rating. Perhaps you'll get a 5% reach per week at 1.2 average frequency (and 25% over the 12 weeks, with an average frequency of 3).

With this minor weekly audience impact, scheduling alternate days, consecutive days, different days or same days in different weeks cannot have much effect.

Directionally, in theory, the more different element to your schedule, in day-of-week or time of day, the better reach you will achieve. BUt in your case, one or two reach points will be a big change.

If by some miracle, you have such an exciting product and impactful commercial that one exposure makes the sale every time, then do go for the most disperse possible schedule.

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.

Monday, November 30, 1998 #2182
Dear Guru. What does index SoS/SoM mean? What should be the value of that index at various periods of the ad campaign? Thank You, Zina.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 30, 1998 ):
The Guru gets a lot of queries asking what does this or that abbreviation mean. Many agencies make up their own terms for planning concepts. Many of these are based on the language of the country where they are invented (this query comes from Russia). The Guru needs to know the full terms to explain the meaning of an index of two terms. Preferably, the Guru likes the full context of the terms' usage, because similar abbreviations may have different meanings in planning versus marketing contexts.

Just guessing, the Guru thinks your index may refer to Share of Spending divided by Share of Market. There are no absolute rules. theories typically are,"spend at 100 index to maintain share of market, spend at over 100 index to grow share of market."

Obviously this is an over-simplification, since various media types and units will have a bigger impact than simple money caluculations indicate.

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.

Tuesday, October 27, 1998 #2115
Not a question, but Guru you were misleading when you referred to GenX as "children of the Baby Boomers". Most Boomers are 40-41 years old, the youngest of GenX are 17-18. As a cohort, boomers were late to propagate; the "children of the boomers" are really the Boom-echo, that peaked in about 1989 (they're now 8-10 years-old at its peak). Why is this so important? Because, we should try to stop misleading advertisers into thinking Boomers are soon to become empty-nesters. The most common age in America is 41 -- boomers have booming families. The 50-somethings we hear about, the parents of the younger Xers, were the War Babies and just the leading edge of the Boom. (Of course the kids get all mixed up as first-time parents are of different ages.)

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 28, 1998 ):
There are a few problems in the facts, thus challenging your theories.
  1. The "Baby Boom," by definition is the children of those returning from World War II. Thus, the oldest Baby Boomers are now about age 52.
  2. Looking at 5 year age cohorts, there is little size difference among 47-52, 42-46, 37-42, 32-36; most are about 20 million persons, ranging from about 18 to 22 million
  3. The smallest 5 year cohort is 22-26 years with 17 million.

The oldest Boomers' children are now in their thirties and the youngest no doubt 8-10. But the core of Gen X is of an age to be kids of Baby Boomers.

And Baby Boomers are indeed beginning to be empty-nesters. The Guru trusts advertisers look a bit further than a single one of the Guru's answers, wherein one of 5 or 6 possible definitions of Gen X was "children of the Baby Boomers."

The Official Guide to the Generations by Susan Mitchell describes"The demographics and spending patterns of adult consumers-Generation X, born 1965-76; the Baby Boom, born 1946-64" (ISBN 0-9628092-8-4; May 1995)

Note: the Guru is 52, his youngest child is 18.

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.

Wednesday, October 07, 1998 #2077
please provide with detailed information on the theory of STAS(short term Advertising strengths)

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 07, 1998 ):
In addition to numerous references in the Advertising Research Foundation's Journal of Advertising Research, JP Jones, the creator of STAS has updated the concept in a paper written for Telmar's 30th Anniversary.

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?

Monday, August 31, 1998 #2019
Dear Guru, can you please give me some guidelines about the following subject: Children and television (meaning theory and measuring audiencies). Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 02, 1998 ):
Nielsen will have several documents available. There have been conferences on the topic held by the Advertising Research Foundation. The ARF's library will have several relevant articles as well as the conference procedings.

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.

Tuesday, August 25, 1998 #2013
What are the limitations of John Phillip Jones' STAS theory ?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 25, 1998 ):
This question is impossibly broad, as stated. Limitations in what context? However, you will find some discussion in AMIC's Telmar 30th Anniversary area in the Awards Papers section, where Jones himself discusses whether STAS works only with TV.

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.

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

Monday, July 20, 1998 #1965
What is the bare minimum frequency you think is necessary to create an impact in a monthly? Bi-monthly? And a weekly? I am in planning for a client that has done all consumer advertising in the past, and they just informed us that our next FY budget is going to be half AND they want to start doing trade advertising. Obviously, either books have to be cut or insertions. What are your thought?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 22, 1998 ):
"Impact" is the most abused term in media.

First, you must decide the importance of reach versus frequency in your plan. More titles means more reach and more insertions per title means more frequency. It is common to find "rules of thumb" that dictate a minimum of 4 times in a monthly, 12 times in a weekly, etc. The Guru believes these are mostly the theories of media salespeople.

In some cases you will find it important that your product is specifically identified with a book. In others, when the availability or efficiency of purchase of your target audience is the key element of choice in selecting a book, it won't matter whether the average target person reached sees three ads in three different books or three times in the same book.

In other words, is it more important that the consumer remembers seeing your ad or remembers where it was seen?

Monday, July 13, 1998 #1949
Dear Guru, You've never failed me. I need your help. I thought I understood pageviews and banner impressions. However, I'm wondering, if a person sees banner doesn't it stand to reason that they will naturally view the page to do that? What am I missing? Please clarify. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 13, 1998 ):
If a person sees a banner, the person sees the page it's on. But remember, "sees" is just a handy word. What we mean is that the person's browser "requests" the page from the server, and the page is loaded by the browser with the banner gifS or jpgS the server is programmed to deliver with the page at that moment.

In theory, depending on certain browser settings, if a person goes to the same page twice in one visit, and that page rotates its banners, then on the second visit, the browser could request the banners but load the page out of its own cache, creating a banner impression, but not a page request in the server log, even though the visitor "sees" the page both times.

Wednesday, June 10, 1998 #1890
Dear Guru, Is there any way to compare between the quantity of a campaign GRPs to the purchase intentions? For example: if we did a campaign of 1000 GRPs, and the post test results show that 50% intend to buy the product (a new product that was just penetrated).Is there any criteria that I can use to evaluate the "value" of each rating point according to its influence on the purchase intentions or on the aided / unaided awareness? I know that the purchase intentions and all other post-test results are a results of lots of other factors as the message itself, the frequency, the product itself etc. Still, I wonder if you can help me to focus on the connection / correlation between the GRPs quantity and the slots mix to the purchase intentions (The competitor's campaign had the same sum of GRPs but most of it in off prime, unlike ours that was about 50% in prime time, and this difference had a meaningful effect on the purchase intentions. Can I "prove" the correlation between slots mix and purchase intentions? Thak you very much!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 20, 1998 ):
The Guru could rule the world if GRP's had a simple direct relationship to purchase intent, or sales, etc. If advertising copy quality or unit length or programming made no difference, as your theory would require, there would be no creative "stars" in agencies and The biggest agency might have a one-person media department.

To approximate what you are looking for, if purchase intent is measured at enough different points of enough different schedules, then a graph relating GRP to intent can be created. It will only be approximately predictive because it ignores all those other variables the Guru mentioned.

Friday, May 29, 1998 #1613
1.what is osto's model? 2.In case of an absence of duplication data for publications, how do l calculate the effective reach using 2 or more media vehicles? in such a scenario, is it safe to use the random theory even if multiple readership is negligible?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 02, 1998 ):
1) The Guru is not familiar with Osto's model. It may be specific to India, from where you are writing.

2) The Random method is a starting point. If you can find two other similar publications with measured duplication, you can use the duplication ratio from those publications. If you literally mean "effective reach," that is, reach at or above a minimum exposure level, then you need a more complex formula or a computer program like Telmar's ADplus.

Monday, May 11, 1998 #1586
does a hyphen in an url reduce traffic to a site, eg.suppose i have a site with a url,does it pay to make it

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 11, 1998 ):
The guru would imagine that there could be some loss of traffic, on the theory that the hyphen invites more typos.

On the other hand, if the domain name is based on a well known product name, company name, or phrase, it is most important to match the well known version. Your problem only arises then if it is a two word name, like Coca Cola, with a space, which is not permitted in urls.

Sunday, March 29, 1998 #1556
Could you please tell me where I can find on-line books about theory and practice of advertising.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 06, 1998 ):
Amazon and Barnes and Noble are good on-line sources of business books.

The Guru has not found any full texts of advertising books on line. Look at the Guru's Encyclopedia of Media Terms and Parts of a Media Plan.

Many Universities with advertising curricula have course outlines on-line.

By now the Guru's archive of hundreds of answers is a large part of an advertising text, albeit not very organized and somewhat media skewed.

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.

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.

Tuesday, January 20, 1998 #1490
What are the advantages of a client having an Agency of Record (AOR)?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 22, 1998 ):
The Agency of Record is the one authorized to order media for the client. In a sense every client has an agency of record. The term has come to mean situations where the buying agency is not necessarily the creative agency and is common when a large advertiser whose brands are handled by several agencies designates one of the agencies to handle all business in a particular medium. The advantage, in theory, is that the AOR has more "clout" in negotiation. A second advantage, especially in TV is being able to allocate spots from a large pool of purchases to brands in a way most efficient and effective for all.

Thursday, October 09, 1997 #1427
Does the length of the commercial determine the amount of grps reached? If I schedule a 30ss and achieve X amount of grps, and schedule a 15ss the same amount of times I achieve the same amount of grp's as with the 30ss?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 10, 1997 ):
Very simply, yes. Whether they are watching for 15 or 30 seconds, the audience of the commercial is the same, so the GRPs are the same(never mind theories of channel switching, or we'd be adjusting commercial audiences based on partial viewing).

What can be confusing is that TV buyers often use formulas requiring :15's to be treated as if they had half the rating of a :30 in the same time slot, so that they can most readily calculate a ":30 equivalent" c.p.m. or Cost Per Point.

Friday, June 13, 1997 #1365
Dear Guru, Could you please give your opinion on what can be viewed as a recommended level of GRP, frequency and effective frequency for a highly competitive advertising category on TV. As an example we can take a carbonated soft drinks' category. What should be the planning guidelines? When and why we should use flighting (pulsing) or what is the rationale for a continous campaign. Additionally to TV which other media should we use and why? Thank you in advance, Bob

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 13, 1997 ):
You are actually asking for the complete Objectives, Strategies and communications tactics of a full scale media plan, without offering enough background.

Nevertheless, here are some considerations:

One theory of competitive media planning calls for delivering a minimum of 10% more impressions than the key competitor, in head to head media. This assures beating the competition in GRP, reach and effective reach.

Budget is a consideration. If there is not enough money to compete as above nationally, then selecting geography where the delivery advantage can be maintained should allow you to beat the competition, bit by bit, until you can afford national support.

When there are time-sensitive promotional issues, then pulsing can be an effective way to deliver more impressions over the crucial period. Recent media theory has emphasized the benefits of continuity, because "the impression delivered closest to the purchase decision is the most effective impression." In the soft drink category, where purchase decisions are constant, continuity may be generally preferable to pulsing.

In other, highly competitive, seasonal categories pulsing may be needed.

As far as recommending other media, that calls for more information, but please look at the Guru's Media Advertising Strenghths

Friday, May 02, 1997 #1337
Dear Guru, CBS TV network is targetting for the audience 25-54 years of age. Since when are they doing? Is it a success - do they make more money per second sold than, say NBC, ABC or FOX, who aim at younger targets?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 02, 1997 ):
One alternate theory is that CBS is getting that audience by default, since everyone else is doing a better job of targeting the more "desirable" younger demographics.

The Guru recalls reports showing the other networks selling for higher unit prices. Publications like Ad Age provide regular reportage of ratings trends, audience demographics and up to the minute (claimed)average selling prices.

Wednesday, March 12, 1997 #1304
Dear GuruI am interresting in your oppinion on the changing shape of the media environment.What do you think how the media changing for the near future, what are the main trends in the media and how will it change the media planning?Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 24, 1997 ):
Media have always changed. Once there were only print media and billboards. Then radio, then TV. Not only do new media arise, but the numbers of media vehicles of each type of each type proliferate. The web is only the latest and most explosive example of this proliferation. What causes the changes for the planner is the availability of research and hard facts on which to base decisions, rather than using theory. One of the biggest changes may be the growing emphasis on direct response models for evaluating media effectiveness, rather than awareness, recall, or requests for additional information.

Or is it the ability to apply computer models to planning?

Sunday, October 20, 1996 #1123
What is your take on the Audits & Survey challenge to MRI and SMRB for use among media buyers.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 21, 1996 ):
The Guru believes the challenge is -- first -- about use amongMedia Researchers. Buyers typically will use what the agencyprovides and "blesses" without much question.

The focus of the A&S study, as the Guru understands it, is on "Primary" (subscriber household) readers, on the theory that this is the more stable audience, and will lessen study to study audience size "bounce" for mid size publications, which can sometimes vary greatly between waves of MRI or Simmons. It remains to be seen if this will be the case. There are several other technical differences.

But, practically, for media buyers, comparing to Simmons or MRI, the missing elements would be brand data -- A&S has said it will report categories only -- and lack of reporting on any package goods categories.

Obviously, buyers working on General Foods will view this differently than those assigned to General Motors orGeneral Electric.

Monday, September 16, 1996 #1146
Has anyone already validated the old ratio theory, in order to provide help in answering such statements as : "adspends should not represent more than X% of our turnover in this country"? I know this appears like a rather naive question, but some still use this so-called ratio as a weapon and as a norm, regardless of launching years and conflicting effectiveness measurement tools. Have you got an answer , maybe not so simple as the question ?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 17, 1996 ):
The Guru says "no." Except for individual brands/services basing ratios on their own experience.

Otherwise such static ratios are always limited in applicability.

First, they generally only apply within product category, to take account of competitive environment.

They also must vary with brand maturity; launching always requires spending ahead of sales. Mature, established, category dominating brands can spend at a lower ratio.

Market position is also a factor, a smaller share-of-market holder needs a higher ratio to grow share.

There are so few simple answers to marketing questions, once we go beyond "does advertising work?"

Saturday, August 31, 1996 #1153
How does one determine what is effective advertising on the Internet?What would be thought to be an effective frequency?How does it compare with more traditional media (direct advertising etc)?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 02, 1996 ):
One first has to define what qualifies as advertising in the internet context. Is it a full web page or is it a banner ad on someone else's page?

Effective frequency was long cosidered to be just a simple 3 or more times, stemming from the origninal 1883 Ebbinhaus learning theory experiment.

More recent theorists look at differnet amounts of repetion needed to "learn" an advertising message, based on content (high interest/low interest, etc) or environment (relevant surroundings, clutter, competition, etc).

But in the case of banners, these are usually no more than logos, with nothing to learn, they're fishing lures to bring the browser to the more detailed inormation. In the case of full web pages, the idea is either to draw the browser through the whole content if the page is an ad or to bring the browser back often if the page itself is a medium for other people's banner ads.

Learning and repetiton may not be relevant or may nned to be redefined.

In a direct mail context, the banner may be like the outside of the envelope, and the web page like the content. Both are a one-shot deal: effective frequency doesn't enter the picture.

Wednesday, July 17, 1996 #1179
Do you know any research about how much average frequency is enough before the consumer turns against the advertised product. I mean before they are fed up with the ad. I would like some articles or tables about different product categories concerning this effect.Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 18, 1996 ):
There does not seem to be any definitive research on this. Planners dread the question "when is the campaign worn out" almost invariably asked without any definition of "wear-out." Certainly some ads are less enduring in terms of selling ability, which may have little to do with consumers being "fed up." Some advertisers use frequency in top quintiles as a guide, some just accumulated GRP, others study the competitive environment and clutter of their usual advertising media.

The "propinquity theory" gaining in appreciation argues for lower frequencies and if it catches on generally, may change the concept of wear out. Probably the best source of published study and opinion would be the Advertising Research Foundation Library

Sunday, July 07, 1996 #1185
I am convinced that with a limited budget it is necessary to reach "effective" reach levels at a given period of time rathe than spread thos dollars throughout the year to achieve low levels but high coninuity. I am working in the Automotive field. Please help me. I need specific documented research studies on effective reach!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 08, 1996 ):
It isn't clear what your query is. Many people continue to feel as you do. In recent years, many others have espoused the "propinquity" theory which advocates continuous low levels, based on the idea that the single exposure closest to a purchase occasion is the most effective.

There has been considerable trade publication comment on the matter, most often by Erwin Ephron, probably the leading proponent of propinquity. A recent Advertising Research Foundation workshop devoted considerable attention to this issue, and the proceeding of that conference should be available from the ARF. There have been opposing positions, in agreement with yours, published as well, one of the earliest by Abbott Wool in Media Week shortly after Ephron's first publication of the theory.

The Guru has discussed this before, so using your browser's "find" function to scan this page and the Guru archives will provide additional material.

Surely the most archetypical exception to continuity is for the highly seasonal product, as automotive products may be.

Saturday, June 08, 1996 #1204
One of our clients is about to introduce their next generation computer based system. I should notmention the client, but their industry is not MIS. I 'm trying to figure out the wisest programming of advertising dollars (including media & direct mail) to optimize this introduction. What profile of spendingshould be pursued. Should it be front loaded, even, gradually accretive...etc. Do you know of any source thatspeaks to this, in terms of actual experience with mildly high tech systems? I don't want an academic resource thattells me all the ingredients that go into a successful launch, etc. I would like to know case studies or related.Can you help me?\thanks,

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 09, 1996 ):
There are as many theories as cases, and the ones published may not represent a projectible base. The Guru suggests bringing this qustion to one of the 'nets marketing discussion lists where some top people can share their experieince and enjoy dealing with real-life cases.

How to join these discussions is explained below, in answers from March 22 (MediaPlan) and March 4, (Market-L, MKTSEG and MavenConference)

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.

Sunday, November 05, 1995 #1825
Are you aware of any studies which have been done on online advertising rates? I am interested in both rates on the internet and those for content providers on the Commercial Online Service Providers (MSN, AOL, CompuServe, etc.).

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 05, 1995 ):
In the past year or so there have been numerous articles in AdAge, Interactive Age, etc about exisiting rates. Of course there have also been theories expressed about how to set rates. See also: Pricing Web Site Advertising by Abbott Wool

Monday, January 23, 1995 #1877
It seens that the effective reach concept is falling on disrrepute. What do you think. Is it a valuable concept for a package goods advertiser?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 23, 1995 ):
Despite some media pundits, effective reach/frequency is not dead yet. A good media plan should directly address the communication strategy of each particular product campaign. Frequency will depend upon such parameters as purchase cycle, complexity of the message, competitive advertising, the ability to deliver the message in a timely fashion at the height of consumer interest, as well as other tried and successful principles. The current heightened interest in frequency takes into account the length of the advertising commitment, a concept that was always vague in the original effective reach/frequency theory. Because this topic is of great importance, we have created a news group under Industry Forums so that all AMIC members may participate.