Empirical Evidence of TV Advertising Effectiveness

Joel Rubinson

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In this article, three hypotheses were examined that, if accepted, would lead us to conclude that the effectiveness of TV advertising has declined over time. Seven different databases—accounting for a total of 388 case histories—were accessed to conduct a form of meta-analysis to address this issue. These databases include results from advertising-weight tests, marketing-mix modeling, copy testing, return-on-marketing analysis from quasi-experimental design, and media-planning tools. The evidence we studied does not support the acceptance of any of these hypotheses, leading us to conclude that impressions from TV advertising appear to be as effective as ever, even possibly increasing in effectiveness. In terms of specific marketing objectives, the evidence suggests that the impact of TV on sales lift appears to operate primarily by generating brand awareness, suggesting that an effective marketing plan that uses TV should do so in conjunction with multiple forms of marketing in order to impact all stages of the consumer purchase process.