Ads are only part of the overall mix

Sean Brierley (MW December 6) is right to suggest that advertising is not a universal panacea for recession, but makes the same mistake of over-simplification that he levels at the IPA.

He claims the IPA Award case studies are not presented relative to the specific market conditions – in other words, they are seen out of context. But he fails to mention that the same source (Advertising in a Recession by Patrick Barwise) includes a great deal of context drawn on PIMS learnings more than 30 years of benchmarking experience.

These learnings may not conveniently demonstrate a Newtonian sequence of cause and effect, but do help demonstrate that brands which hold their strategic nerve can gain incremental advantage from recessionary conditions as media costs decline and competitors lose marketing momentum. Further, they reinforce that advertising doesn’t work in a vacuum, but is only a component of the overall mix.

Against this, the IPA case histories make abundant sense, and illustrate rather than identify the key principles of how advertising, like fortune, favours the brave.

David Fletcher



London SE1

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