Early in the last century, department store scion John Wanamaker lamented that “I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half.” Today, he might be even more pessimistic about the impact of his ad dollars. While every CMO hopes great creative will allow their brand’s story to clearly reach both users and non-users, it has become increasingly difficult to break through the clutter and noise of the myriad messages received by consumers every day. This challenge is only compounded by today’s tighter marketing budgets and bottom-line focus, which requires that every advertising expenditure be directly tied to incremental volume. The old method of setting advertising budgets by simple sales ratios is no longer acceptable. CMOs require that their advertising investments deliver quantifiable results not only by increasing brand awareness but by actually holding or growing share of market. Moreover, senior marketing executives want these results achieved with greater efficiency than ever before.
It has often been theorized that an ad that provides an opportunity to actually experience a brand’s attributes would be more motivating than one that allows a consumer to just read about what a product does. According to this theory, these experiential campaigns – ads that create sense memories – should generate greater sales than ads alone. In other words, because these ads allow consumers to interact with products at the same time that they receive the ad message, a more indelible memory is made and this leads to greater purchase intent. Trying to quantify this effect, however, has proven elusive.
Now a new research study conducted by Massachusetts-based consulting firm FromTopDown in partnership with research firms Millward Brown and The Greenfield Group, documents that advertising accompanied by a sensory product experience generates not only greater brand awareness, overall brand ratings and purchase intent, but actually generates incremental sales with a positive profit return on the advertising investment.