Archive for the ‘Media Planning and Optimization’ Category

Television’s Brand Building Power – How It Has Changed Over the Years

June 20th, 2017 Comments off

Radical changes continue to shape the media landscape. While much recent research has been conducted on the effectiveness of new platforms, less attention has been given to that media plan staple, television advertising. Is television as effective as it was in the 1980s? Or has its role diminished to the point of non-viability? And if still effective, how does it compare to other media platform options available today?

Last week, research that directly answers these questions was presented at the annual ARF Audience Measurement Conference in New Jersey. This research includes an update of MSW●ARS’s landmark advertising wearout study, An Empirical Investigation of Advertising Wearin and Wearout (which was chosen by the Journal of Advertising Research as one of “18 Articles That Have Withstood the Test of Time”).  The analysis was a joint effort by MSW●ARS Research, the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MSAB) and Nielsen Research.  ESPN’s Kelly Johnson joined MASB Executive Director Frank Findley on the podium to deliver not only the latest findings on advertising wearout but also other important new learning and case studies.

The major conclusions from the study include the following:

  • On a single, quality exposure basis the television ad format is as effective now as it was in the 1980s (based on copy-testing for 30-second television ads collected within the United States for typical categories with brands advertising throughout the years 1980 to 2014 using a consistent methodology, MSW●ARS Research’s CCPersuasionTM measure).

wearout chart 1


  • The rate of delivery of ad selling power per GRP has slowed, requiring approximately 25% more GRPs to deliver the same power to market as it did in the 1980s.

wearout chart 2


  • More than mitigating this decline, the number of U.S. households has increased by 45%.

wearout chart 3


  • Despite a potential increase in distracted viewing, television advertising still maintains an effective frequency profile that is comparable to other media channels including digital.

wearout chart 4


The study also explores how advertising wearout learning can be combined with advertising effectiveness testing to create a metric highly predictive of in-market outcomes and which allows for media planning guidance and optimization of media spend.

For a copy of the full MSW●ARS Research white paper, Television’s Brand Building Power – How It Has Changed Over the Years, please contact us at

3 Quick Ways to Dramatically Improve ROMI Without Spending a Penny More

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

In the  2010s there may be no better mantra for the marketing function than the old adage “work smarter, not harder”.  Faced with stagnant (or declining!) budgets and staff levels, it is no longer practical to use brute force ad spending to drive marketing returns.  Instead marketers are seeking ways to apply new technology to existing data so as to squeeze out every drop of value.  Towards this end, we are providing all TouchPoint Plus copytest users free consulting with the newly patented Outlook® Media Planning and Forecasting tool.   Below are three examples of how this is being used to help television advertisers immediately ramp up returns with no additional outlay of time or money.


Customized ad refreshment schedules.  It is now well established that the selling power of an ad diminishes as media is placed behind it.  To avoid wasting too much spend behind worn out ads, rules-of-thumb have been created (e.g. not airing an ad for over 1200 GRPs).  Such broad rules are ‘generally right, but specifically wrong’ in that they neglect the fact that each ad wears out at a different absolute rate depending on its strength.  The Outlook application uses this knowledge to algorithmically find the optimal allocation across available ads, sometimes yielding millions in additional sales.


Mix of different length ads.  Facing pressure to reduce paid media while expanding effective reach, many advertisers are rediscovering the cost effectiveness of shorter length ads.   At 60% to 70% of the media cost of their 30-second counterpart, 15-second ads are particularly attractive for stretching a media budget.  But since shorter length ads generally underperform their longer counterparts there is a risk that overuse will actually suppress returns not expand them.  Generalizations fail to address the problem as they don’t take into account the size of the campaign, the number of ads available, or brand specific effectiveness ratios.  A module within the Outlook application simplifies this decision and, even at the very early planning stage, provides a specific recommendation taking all these variables into account.  As an example, this below scenario finds that a 45%/55% 15 vs. 30-second GRP mix is optimal (this equates to an approximate $3.5 Million / $6.5 Million split for this brand’s planned $10 Million campaign).


Dynamically adjusted media budget.  One of the biggest ROI squelchers is not being able to take full advantage of ‘home run’ creative when it is found.  Without quantification of potential sales impact, management is likely to be risk adverse and not approve reallocation of resources from other marketing activities to advertising.  By projecting likely sales returns, the Outlook forecasting capability translates advertising plans into the language of business.  The end result is greater confidence by management that the switching of resources within marketing, or even boosts to the overall marketing budget, are warranted.   A classic published example of this comes from StarKist Tuna in a Pouch:

The Precision of the model makes it useful in planning the optimal number of executions for a given media plan, planning the optimal allocation of media among advertisements, and determining when commercials have worn out and should be refreshed.  In our case, the model revealed not that out ad had worn out, but that it had a significant amount of selling power left.  In fact, the planning software projected that our “Fisherman’s Wharf” execution still retained over 80 percent of its selling power!  We took this recommendation to management, and they approved a few more million dollars for our TV media budget.  The ad went back on air in January.  Tuna in a Pouch share gain for the following quarter was 1.3 points, a bit higher than the Outlook estimate of 1.0 points for the expected advertising contribution.1

The end result for StarKist was a 368% return on their investment.  This was versus a 76% return without the increase in spend and an expected break-even had the traditional approach been done.

The above highlights just three of the many ways that Outlook planner can help boost marketing returns.  But hopefully they illustrate that the technology exists to help meet today’s ‘less must be more’ reality.

1A true return on investment… Developing and managing advertising for StarKist Tuna in a Pouch, Barry Shepard.  Quirk’s March 2003.  Bold emphasis added.


MSW●ARS Research Awarded US Patent for Innovative Outlook® Media Planner

April 25th, 2014 Comments off

Lake Success, NY, April 24, 2014 – MSW●ARS Research, has been awarded U.S. Patent, #8,676,638 for the system and method underlying the innovative Outlook® Media Planner.


The Outlook Media Planner is an app that enables marketers to run multiple “what-if” scenarios to determine the likely impact their advertising will have on sales and market share.  The Outlook Media Planner can be used as an upstream tool, while advertising is in development, or as a downstream tool, after ads have been produced and are ready for airing.  Marketers can use these “what if” scenarios to optimize total media weight as well as the distribution of weight among all the ads in a plan.

How does it work?

The Outlook Media Planner applies proven algorithms to key marketing variables in the context of media costs and the brand’s current market position.  It incorporates the newest learnings on advertising strength, effective media weight, wearout, continuity and competitive environment to estimate an advertising plan’s likely quarterly impact on the bottom line.  The application is modularized to answer a variety of common marketing questions such as:

What if my budget gets cut; can I still make my numbers?

  • What amount of media spend is necessary to meet my business objectives?
  • How many ad executions will I need?
  • When will my ads need to be refreshed with new ones?
  • What will the sales impact be this quarter?
  • What’s the optimal allocation of GRPs between my 30 and 15-second television ads?

Frank Findley, Vice President Research & Development at MSW●ARS and co-inventor added “Up till now marketers were forced to use blunt rules of thumb for ad planning and forecasting.  The data was available for a more rigorous approach but the complexity made it difficult and time consuming to do.  The Outlook Media Planner automates the process making it fast and convenient.”

About MSW●ARS Research, Inc.

MSW●ARS offers a product suite that evaluates, quantifies and optimizes the impact of advertising messages and campaigns comprised of any combination of touch points, including television, print, radio, outdoor and digital.  MSW●ARS helps marketers build brands by providing world class research solutions in the following areas: brand strategy, all stages of creative development from early concept to fully finished ads, campaign evaluation across all marketing and media channels, advertising and brand equity tracking, media planning and strategy, return-on-investment and forecasting.  The company provides solutions and consulting to marketers across traditional and digital marketing including: media mix optimization, media budget allocation, media and message connection, channel selection, digital media and emerging platforms.

MSW●ARS techniques are the world’s most widely documented and independently validated predictive measures of the effectiveness of advertising creative and have been equated with higher sales and market share through third-party validation.

MSW●ARS has a roster of marquee clients representing virtually every product category, including: Consumer Packaged Goods, Retail, Financial Services, Telecommunications, Technology, Automotive, and Pharmaceutical industries.

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