LETTERS to the editor should be accompanied by a home and business telephone number so that they may be verified. The editor reserves the right to edit letters for brevity if necessary.Testing methodsIn his letter of Jan. 25 ('Research too subjective'),...

LETTERS to the editor should be accompanied by a home and business telephone number so that they may be verified. The editor reserves the right to edit letters for brevity if necessary.

Testing methods

In his letter of Jan. 25 (‘Research too subjective’), Graham Watt took umbrage with Strategy’s new feature, Commercial Persuasion, which publishes the results and analysis of Research Systems Corporation Canada’s ars testing of selected commercials.

Watt expressed two reasons for his concern.

First, he believes the ars test is a ‘subjective’ technique which imposes certain assumptions on advertising.

These assumptions must be met, he asserts, for success to be achieved.

Second, the ars test could not be appropriate for the Canadian context since it was developed in the u.s.

To the first point, rsc uses empirically sound measurement systems that do not use any ‘subjectivity’ or assumptions in the system.

The ARS Persuasion measure is a behavioral measure that compares two simulated purchase occasions, one before, and one after, exposure to the commercial in a program environment.

Consumer behavior in the ars laboratory has been shown to accurately predict the behavior of the general population when the commercial is aired.

In fact, the ARS Persuasion measure has over 350 documented cases of its relationship to in-market business results in North America and Europe.

To the second point, because it is a behavioral measure, it has proven to be effective in many cultures and Canada has proven to be no exception.

The ars system is far from a pseudo-scientific approach and doesn’t rely on viewers’ verbal responses or interpretation by researchers.

The current track record for advertising is only 50/50, coin-toss odds of success for seeing any sales response. So, the real key is to increase the odds of success.

Any of the many objectives of advertising must result in a change in consumer behavior (measurable in sales), if it can be deemed a worthwhile investment by an advertiser.

Using a valid, sales-related measure can raise the odds of sales success to as high as 91%. The sales-related feedback (and validated diagnostics) provides a means of learning what works and doesn’t without risking expensive media budgets.

In addition, the measure is part of a total quality system that has been shown to dramatically increase advertising-driven profits.

We invite Mr. Watt and any advertisers interested in increased profits to see how the measure predicts in-market results and provides a basis for more successful advertising development.

Give us a call at (416) 623-0872.

Mark D. Gleason

Senior vice-president

Marketing & business


Research Systems Corporation

Evansville, Ind.

Taking issue

The Jan. 25 issue of Strategy contained a special report (‘TV: Focus on Audience Quality’) addressing tv audience quality.

While the articles vary in approach and viewpoints concerning the subject, I do take exception to the one by Jeff Osborne, titled ‘Keep sights on effectiveness.’

In approaching the subject, Jeff seems to think that broadcaster ‘bashing’ and taking shots at tvb [Television Bureau of Canada], is a way to vent his company’s frustration over the audience measurement issue.

One of the risks we take by distributing our long-range plan far and wide is to lay ourselves bare to the ‘slings and arrows’ of those who will use partial quotes to serve their own purposes.

tvb’s long-range plan reflects the input of many industry experts, from all segments of the advertising community.

Rather than challenging Mr. Osborne’s selective quotes from our plan, and rebutting them with other quotes, I would invite anyone interested in understanding the tvb total position on this and other television advertising issues, to call (416) 923-8813 and I will be pleased to send you a copy of the plan for you to draw your own conclusions.

I believe our plan addressed the total advertising industry’s concern for having an electronic-based methodology for audience measurement as soon as possible.

However, as it is a long-range plan, it also points out the need to develop a balance between cost efficiency from an audience measurement system, and qualitative measures when planning, buying and evaluating the television medium.

Cameron L. Fellman


Television Bureau of Canada


Reach/frequency models

In the Feb. 8 issue John Dalla Costa (‘Is repetition really good?’) makes a cogent argument for freshness in execution in creative treatments as a way to ‘renew’ a campaign.

And there is certainly evidence that the traditional model of how advertising works needs refreshing, or even turning on its ear.

Except in the case of new product launches, much advertising works by reinforcing decisions already taken.

I am less sure that his argument against the current media reach/ frequency models has any validity.

These simply provide a measure of the ‘envelope’ of the campaign, i