Ad wear-out is a myth, data from research companies shows
After about a decade the Tealand advertisement for Twinings is still as effective as at the start
There has long been the idea that ads suffer wear-out after multiple repetitions. It’s one of the reasons a newly appointed marketing director is likely to call on the incumbent advertising agency to come up with a new creative campaign.
However, data from research companies Kantar, System1 and Analytic Partners reveals that it’s not consumers who are getting tired of seeing a brand’s ads, only marketers. The findings of all three firms indicate that wear-out rarely occurs for target consumers. Kantar says: “Wear-out is not some unavoidable destiny for ads; it is possible to create strong ads that can maintain their success.”
Kantar cites the example of the Tealand ad for Twinings — a winner of Kantar’s Creative Effectiveness Award, originally conceived and created in Chile — which remained effective for almost a decade across a range of global markets.
Ecem Erdem, global manager for creative at Kantar, says:, “Tealand is an ad that conquers not only time but also geographies, as the original creative was first launched in Europe. Almost a decade after the original test, data shows that the ad is still as enjoyable and as distinctive [as then], with a strong potential to contribute to the brand’s equity, as measured by the Demand Power Contribution score. It may be rare for brands to run an ad for quite so many years, but this case shows that strong ads do not necessarily wear out.”
Our conclusion is that staying consistent in your communication is key to success in establishing your brand’s personalityEcem Erdem
In a recent issue of Marketing Week consultant and former marketing professor Mark Ritson says the lesson in this for marketers is that they need to practise greater patience and not pull high-potential campaigns before they have had time to develop and affect the market fully.
“The single-most common move for new senior marketers taking over at a brand is to put the account under review and start thinking about a Big New Campaign,” writes Ritson. The only time a new campaign is appropriate, he adds, is if the existing campaign is [ineffective] or driven by a different strategy.
Erdem says it takes time for consumers to associate the core idea and theme with a brand. “Ads that are a continuation of existing campaigns in Kantar’s Link database are stronger in branding metric [than] those kicking off a new campaign. Our conclusion is that staying consistent in your communication is key to success in establishing your brand’s personality.”
Pointing out that an average new campaign will spend 20%-30% of the annual budget on execution, leaving the remaining 70% for media investment, Ritson says marketers would likely change their approach if they knew the campaign would run for longer. For starters, they would probably spend more on testing, given that the stakes are higher, but ultimately it would allow close to 100% of the ad budget to be allocated to working media investment.
“If you accept that wear-out does not exist — if you go for better, longer creative — you just earned yourself an extra 25 points of share of voice to win the game [compared with] your new-ad loving, underspending competitors. This is a huge point.”
What the Tealand campaign proves, Ritson says, is that it is possible to create ads that defy wear-out, the cultural constraints of different markets, and different media. “There is something in the ‘campaignability’ of big ads that transcend time, which means they transcend other barriers too.”
Ultimately, says Ritson, “more is not always more. New is not always good. And sometimes your biggest competitor is the quality of your existing work.”
The big take-out: It is possible to create ads that defy wear-out, the cultural constraints of different markets, and different media.
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