Home Page The Advertising Media Internet Center

Telmar Home Page


Media Guru

Guru Search Results: 20 matches were found

Tuesday, May 16, 2000 #3476
What is the usual time of TV copy worn-out? Please give me some examples of Western markets (I am writing from Poland). Is there a big difference when you use the same copy all the time or several versions (let's say - the same logo, text, packshot, but different scenario)? Please submit it to FMCG brands. Thanks in advance. Cezary

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 19, 2000 ):
It depends on how you define wear out, which might be based on GRPs or frequency or sales rate.

Click here to see extensive past Guru comment on wear out

Thursday, January 27, 2000 #3162
I am in the midst of developing a media plan and our marketing manager is developing an Ad Library. He wants to determine at what point a commercial creative unit should be replaced. For instance, is a commercial dead after being on the air for 3 months, 6 months or 12 months? Or is a commercial dead after it has achieved a certain number of GRPs. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. K

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 29, 2000 ):
Click here to see past Guru responses about wear out.

Tuesday, December 07, 1999 #3033
Without the budget for post-flight call out surveys what formulas or 'rules' can I use to anticipate message saturation and burn. What reach or net reach level over what period of time would be probable to achieve a 80% awareness within the target. Also what is considered too much exposure for one message before you reach a point of diminishing returns. I know that the the better measurment here is research before and during the campaign, but there must be some bench marks that are industry accepted. Can you share these and share a public location for other general assumptions like this. Thank you in advance Guru... J

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 08, 1999 ):
  1. Ad awareness will never be greater than reach, so start from a plan that delivers at least 80% reach
  2. To establish measurable awareness, some repetiton will be needed, so think about getting an 80% reach at a set effective frequency level. The Guru has previously discussed use of the Ostrow Model to set this goal.
  3. A message is worn out when its ability to generate sales falls off. This being hard to predict, many advertisers have used past experience to set media-measurement based cut-offs. These have included a limit of 2000 GRPs and a frequency cap of 20 in the second highest quintile. In reality, the size of the copy pool, the qualities of the copy, the target, the overall media mix, and product category may all lead to wide variations in wear out. The two standards mentioned above were both commonly used in basic package goods TV advertising in a mix with print and a TV copy pool of 2-3 executions.

Tuesday, November 16, 1999 #2977
Details of Ostrow's effective frequency model

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 21, 1999 ):
The Ostrow model aims at establishing the minimum level of frequency to be deemed effective so that the plan can maximize reach at that level of frequency. The model can be traced back to his speech, "Effective Frequency" at an Advertising Research Foundation Key Issues Workshop, June 4, 1982.

Typically, the model involves evaluating a series of relevant factors on a scale of say, 2 to 6, and averaging the factors to determine the appropriate level of frequency to set as effective.

In the 1982 speech the factors discussed were of three kinds: marketing, message / creative and media.


  • Established brand vs new entry
  • Brand share
  • Brand loyalty
  • Purchase cycle
  • Usage cycle
  • Share of voice
  • Target group learning capacity

Message / Creative

  • Complexity
  • Uniqueness
  • New vs continuing campaign
  • Image building vs specific sell
  • Message variation (copy pool)
  • wear out
  • Copy unit size/length


  • Clutter
  • Editorial / program environment
  • Attentiveness
  • Continuity vs flighting
  • Number of different media
  • Repeat exposure opportunities

For the full speech, the transcript proceedings of the workshop are available from the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Friday, September 03, 1999 #2765
Dear Guru, We are in the process of completing an advertising campaign that is targeting the Retired Senior market. Unfortunetly our advertising budget will only allow for regionalized print, and limited national print. Although I am completely aware that frequency of insertion is dependant on numerous variables, I am curious to know if there is an industry standard for number of insertions that a "senior" typically needs to be exposed before becoming familar with a message or risking burn out? Your help is very much appreciated.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 03, 1999 ):
The Guru has never encountered any industry standard for wear-out in any medium or any target. Too much depends on the ad itself, the interest level of the category, novelty, etc.

Thursday, August 19, 1999 #2726
I buy a base level of 500 Ad 18-49 TRP's per week; a typical flight will run 4 weeks --- for a total of 2000 TRP's. From this base buy, we usually split the base buy in 1/2 trafficking in two different spots (1000 / 1000 TRP's). At what level do you think that wear out will occur? Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 19, 1999 ):
What is your definition of wearout? A frequency level? A decline in ad awareness? A sales decline? There are may ways to set wearout.

One of the oldest, and easier to use because it is defined entirely by media measurement, is a certain frequency level in the next-to-highest quintile, perhaps a frequency of 20.

Depending on daypart mix, this might mean wearout at about 2000 GRPs for a spot.

Wednesday, May 12, 1999 #2506
We have a client who always hears our radio spots (I believe that is a good thing) but thinks they are worn out due to the high exposure. We do not agree as we are running 200 GRPs/wk. for 40 weeks with five spots with a 20% rotation for each spot. We believe that wear out is difficult as frequency is one of the goals of radio and due to listening habits. Is there an industry standard to determine when a radio commercial is worn out? For example, I know packaged goods advertisers who use TV look at the reach at the heaviest viewing quintile. If reach exceeds 25% they considering replacing or resting the spot. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 16, 1999 ):
wear-out is

1. Subjective 2. Variable depending on the quality and memorability of the copy.

Rules of thumb the Guru has seen include

  • "It's worn out when the client starts asking". . . or
  • 2000 GRP -- you're getting close on that one . . .or
  • 20 (or 25 or 30) frequency in the second highest quintile -- you're probably past that one, and have at least a 20 average frequency depending on your target and dispersion.
  • . . . and the one that really makes sense is tracking sales and making a change in the copy when the sales trend drops.

Monday, May 03, 1999 #2485
Hey Guru! Please can you help me to find information/research on wearout of magazine adverts. ie At what stage should the creative be changed and does duplication of readership play a role and if so, how?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 03, 1999 ):
Studies on the question might be at Newsweek Media Research Index and cerainly are in theAdvertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

wear out will differ according to the power, memorabilty, etc, of each piece of copy, of course.

Naturally, duplication plays a role. It is frequency which causes wear out. Higher duplication is another way of saying quicker building of frequency among those reached.

Thursday, April 22, 1999 #2462
What research is available that addresses wear-out for print ads? We're interested in idientifying the maximum "threshold" for frequency for a business-to-business trade publication campagin.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 22, 1999 ):
Try Newsweek Media Research Index and Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Tuesday, December 08, 1998 #2206
Dear Media Guru, I'm certain that these two topics are unrelated, but I was curious if anyone analyzed this. Have you heard if there is a client rule of thumb as to how much the client is willing to put into production of a broadcast spot in relation to the media budget? For example if a client is going to spend $10MM in TV, will the client consider spending $1MM on the spot itself? Just curious, thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 08, 1998 ):
Yes, the Guru has heard of a 10% rule of thumb, but there are so many exceptions. At a certain point of media spending and weight, more than one commercial may be needed to combat wear-out. In some lower priced media, such as General market cable, African American Cable or Spanish language TV, fewer dollars may buy much more target weight and yet the advertiser wants the same standards of production quality as in other TV.

It's a case-by-case situation.

Wednesday, September 30, 1998 #2067
Dear Guru, Are you familiar with any studies that explore when creative "wear-out" occurs for online banner ads? I have read that frequently changing creative will help the click-through rate, but what defines "frequently"? Every week? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 02, 1998 ):
There have been some studies.

C.A.S.I.E. (The Coalition for Advertising Supported Interactive Entertainment) probably has the best compilation of research on these issues.

You will also find some in the archives of the NY Times Online or AdAge's Business Marketing.

It seems to be acccepted that after three exposures, banners no longer attract clicks. "Frequently," therefore, is based on when you believe X portion of your target has been exposed three or more times to the banner.

Thursday, November 27, 1997 #1463
What about wear on and wear out

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 27, 1997 ):
"What about" is a question that invites too broad a response. The Guru has discussed wear out frequently: see Oct 27, below, and the Guru Archives under Media Planning, Media Effectiveness, Media Math and Media Research.

"Wear on" is not a familiar term to the Guru, perhaps it is peculiar to Italy, from where this query comes.

Monday, October 27, 1997 #1445
Dear Guru, We have been talking (within the Agency) about a new concept which is median frequency ( not average!): The goal of this mesurement tool is to determinate the wear-out level of commercials. Have you ever been across with this subject? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 27, 1997 ):
First, let's define "Median Frequency"

You seem to mean one would array all those exposed to the commerical in order of their frequency of exposure.

Then find the person at the exact middle of the line; one half of those exposed have less frequency and one half of those exposed have more.

It would actually be "less than or equal to" and "more than or equal to," since we are now dealing with discreet individuals, who therefore have a whole number (an integer) of exposures. In the thousands of people exposed, many will be at the median level of exposure

The Guru has not seen this metric used for wear out analysis before, but it seems neither better nor worse than the more common use of quintiles, i.e. looking at the top 2 quintiles, or most heavily exposed 40% of audience.

Thursday, June 19, 1997 #1366
Dear Guru, I have a set of urgent questions to ask of you. I have a meeting tomorrow, and need your help! 1. How is effective reach calculated? 2. Reach v/s Frequency -- when should one be given priority / importance over the other? 3. Is there any way of taking creative into account while analysing competition? If yes, can a system of weights be worked out? 4. How do you reconcile to the vast difference between reach/frequency deliveries from a Peoplemeter system as opposed to the Diary system? My client refuses to accept a 4+ reach of 30% being accustomed to levels of 70% for the same plan! Would greatly appreciate your immediate reply.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 19, 1997 ):
1) In any schedule of several commercials, some of the target group will see only one, some will see two, some will see three, some will see four, some five, etc, etc.

The actual measurement is based on tracking the cume of several different advertisers schedules in a single measurement period such as one month of the PeopleMeter.

A mathematical model that will match the measured GRP/Frequency is calculated so that plan deliveries can be predicted. Going more deeply into the actual measurement, it can be determined how many people of each demographic group were exposed to each commercial in the schedule and a model calculated which will predict that performance for a plan.

For example, below is the typical output of a computer models' frequency distribution, showing what percent of the target saw exactly n commercials and what percent saw n+. (this example is from Telmar's ADplus):

                    Frequency (f) Distributions 
                                  % who saw
                          #seen exactly  at least     
                          ----- -------  -------
               Target:      f     rch    rch    
               P18-49      ---   -----  -----   
                            0     69.1  100.0   
                            1     11.5   30.9    
                            2      6.0   19.3    
                            3      3.7   13.4   
                            4      2.6    9.6   
                            5      1.8    7.1    
                            6      1.3    5.2   
                            7      1.0    3.9   
                            8      0.7    2.9   
                            9      0.6    2.2   
                           10+     1.6    1.6   
                           20+     0.0    0.0    

2) Reach vs Frequency: The determination of emphasis here can be a complicated analysis making up the greater part of a plan's documentation, under the heading of "communications strategy." A commercial so powerful that it's sell is overwhelming in one exposure might take the "Let's buy one spot in the Superbowl" route as did the Macintosh computer with the classic "1984" execution.

In more competitive situations, competitors' levels are taken into account, clutter in the media of choice, copy quality, etc. Obviously a balance must eventually be struck between reach and frequency based on judging all these factors.

3) There are several ways to take creative into account while setting up reach vs frequency goals;

The complexity or simplicity of the message

The number of commercial in the pool

how close your commercial is to the established "wear-out" level

The balance of :30 to :15

etc, etc. can all be assigned factors and totalled or averaged to give a reach vs frequency emphasis factor

a similar exercise can also set effective frequency thresholds

4) There should not be "vast" differences between effective reaches based on people meter and diary systems if schedule GRP and other aspects are the same. 5 or 10% would be the range the Guru would expect.

A plan with a 70 reach at the 4+ level would be delivering in the range of 98% total reach. It sounds as if your client may be confusing a plan with 70 reach and an average frequency of 4 with 70 at an effective frequency of 4. Or perhaps confusing 4-week reach with a long term cume?

Wednesday, February 26, 1997 #1032
Hi GU!I am looking for everything I can find regarding wear-out. Have the Jan 1988 article from the Journal of Advertising Research---that pub has probably published more since then, but I can't find a way to get a list of past articles on their web site. Know of any other resources on this subject?Toni

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 27, 1997 ):
AMIC plans to begin offering JAR reprints on behalf of the ARF in the near future. For now, you can direct requests to the editor,

Monday, February 17, 1997 #1045
I am interested in obtaining research that explores effective consumer promotion television weight levels. A typical consumer promotion window may be 2 - 3 weeks. Most consumer promotions are planned in the neighbourhood of 300 GRPs / week. Is there any research that has measured effective levels. I am trying to identifity an optimal level, a level (or range) below which response/sales suffer and/or above which response/sales do not substanitially increase.Goal- avoid spending too little or too much against a given promotion.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 21, 1997 ):
There are so many variable beyond GRP weight that the Guru doubts you will find simple answers.

Just a few are copy length, daypart mix, competitive arena, product interest, and commercial quality and wear-out status. Further, the Guru thinks that effective reach / frequency is a more useful quantitaive standard than pure GRP.

Two places to look for relevant research would be Newsweek Media Research Index or Advertising Research Foundation

Monday, August 05, 1996 #1171
In regards to print advertising, what is a wear-out report? What data do I need to complete this report (reach, frequency, formulas)?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 08, 1996 ):
The Guru has discussed wear out previously (see below July 17 and May 7).

A wear out report would state the status of various print executions in your campaign in comparison to the wear out standard you have established.

Clients have a way of asking the wear out question without setting a standard or even being able to decide how to set one.

Essentially an ad is worn out when it loses all or most of its ability to accomplish its marketing purpose with its target. The purpose may be as simple as product sales, or lead generation in a direct response campaign, or it may be as difficult to define as building brand imagery or awareness of a specific product benefit. Since directly relating any of these to a specific ad would require custom research, it is typical to use whatever research has been done in the past as related to easily modelled media measurements, such as reach, frequency, GRPs or quintiles.

For example if in the past, a custom study showed the average ad was worn out at a time when the planners knew that 80% of the target had seen it 8 or more times, or when the frequency in the top 2 quintiles passed 30. (Don't use these examplenumbers). Naturally, different ads perform differently, but you will need to work on an average basis.

A wear out report then becomes a matter of reporting something like how many of thetarget have seen the ad at least "x" times, or that the frequency in the top 2quintiles will exceed the standard measure as of a certain month of the schedule, or"X" number of GRPs will have run for the ad by some date.

The key is knowing how one of these media measures relate to your wear out standard. Then the report is a simple task.

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

Tuesday, May 07, 1996 #1226
How many times can a print ad run before it wears out?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 08, 1996 ):
The only answer to such a question is "it depends."

How powerful/interesting/competitive is the ad?

What reach and frequency is being developed as the ads insertions repeat.

How many different magazines versus repeats in the same titles.

What is your definition of "wear out?" Decline in awareness, decline in incremental sales, frequency of exposure in the top quintile or top 2 quintiles?

. . .it depends.

Monday, November 06, 1995 #1824
Do you have any information about "wear-out" of TVCs?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 06, 1995 ):
The first thing to know about wear-out is that there are no absolutes. Different people mean different things by "wear-out" There are numerous ways to set a standard for wear out and numerous ways to measure a commercial's approach to that standard. The simplest, as stated by one of the industry's great researchers is, "a commercial is worn out when the client asks about wear out." Realistically, a practical definition of wear out is when the commercial no longer stimulates additional sales. However, it's rare that any commercial is tracked closely enough to determine that point, and the trick is to *predict* that point. Commercials differ in their quality, impact, and memorability, as well as in the clutter and audience duplication of the schedules used to air them. A commercial that's one of a pool of three closely related commercials for a brand might wear out at a different point in time than one that's one of three dissimilar executions. A commercial airing repeatedly in a single daypart wears out before one in a broad rotation. The audience target and its media habits will also have an impact. Once the wear out level is determined base on the above, then it needs to be associated with a media measurement. Measurement might vary from "when the top quintile is exposed x number of times" to "when effective reach is x% over xx weeks" to "when the commercial has accumulated xxxx TRPs." Bottom line, the answer is a commercial is worn out when it stops selling. How to determine this is a question of judgement and specific research.