Many ways to measure ads

Sean Brierley says there “is no reliable, objective and generally acceptable technique for measuring advertising effectiveness”.

He is right – there is no one universal technique – but there are as many as there are ways to advertise, from straight sales data, through econometrics, to shareholder value models, as the nearly 750 cases on the IPA files show. His conclusion, that the IPA “has failed to prove a causal link between advertising and brand success” is absurd. Brand success in all its dimensions is precisely what is proven, rigorously, objectively and to the satisfaction of the brightest and best business talents in the UK, that form the client judging panel for the awards.

Advertising effects are isolated from other causal factors in many of these papers (the article states that they can’t be). The supposedly “biased submissions” of the agencies entering the awards are written to the highest academic standards and judged accordingly. They are generally acknowledged to be the finest body of data about advertising effectiveness anywhere in the world. And in many cases they show the benefits of advertising through a recession, as our own BMW case (IPA 1994) showed very clearly.

Stephen Woodford

Chief executive


London W1

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