May 19, 2011

I Hate When This Happens

What if I told you that I could prove that TV advertising is twice as effective as online advertising at "creating and extending brand equity?"

What if I could prove that it was 10 times more effective?

How about 25 times?

Well, according to a new study released by Innerscope Research, Inc. and Fox Broadcasting Company, TV advertising is actually 38 times more effective than online advertising. You read that right, 38 times more effective.

There's only one problem with this study. I don't believe it for a second.

Even though I believe that online advertising, with the exception of search, has proven to be disappointing, and I have stated often that I think TV advertising is substantially more powerful, I have no confidence at all in the validity of this research.

There are two reasons for this. First, I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent fellow. I believe that at some level you should be able to explain anything to me. Einstein once said, "It should be possible to describe the laws of physics to a barmaid."

When people cannot explain things to me in a way that is comprehensible, I get the suspicious feeling that either they are not clear on what they are saying, or are intentionally obfuscating. I have read the press release about this study a number of times and I still can't understand what they are measuring or how they measured it. I don't think either Einstein or a barmaid could make sense of this:
"The model accounts for the complex intersection of environment, content engagement, screen size, platform approach and flexibility, as well as how these factors affect the creation of emotional connections to brands. "
Second, one of the axioms about research here at Ad Contrarian laboratories is that we never trust research conducted by, or on behalf of, interested parties. Fox Broadcasting is an interested party.

Consequently, not understanding the methodology, not understanding what is being measured, and knowing that behind this study lurks an interested party, I have no confidence in this research.

As much as I'd like to be able to say "I told you so" regarding my belief that TV advertising is measurably more powerful than online advertising,  I have to be a big boy and reject this study as hopelessly flawed.

I hate when this happens.

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