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Familiarity with product plays a role in increased sales of a brand with an "irritating" advertising campaign, too. According to Journal of Advertising Research, customers’ knowledge of, experience with, or loyalty to a brand are components of familiarity—and familiarity is most important factor in effectiveness of advertising. Since customers tend to give greater attention to advertisements of a familiar brand, and may attach their experience with brand to advertisement, customers are likely to accept message and respond to "irritating" advertisement with a purchase.
International Brand & Advertising Research conducted a test to determine if "feelings of liking or disliking commercials are motors that drive brand attitudes and sales." In study, 251 30-second commercials were aired, representing six major product categories: food, confectionery & desserts, beverages, household products, personal care products and automotive. An analysis of 251 commercials showed that there was no "robust, empirical evidence to suggest that either liking or disliking are reliable predictors of a commercial's performance in relation to sales-validated, evaluative measures." In fact, liking or disliking accounted for "no more that 11% of variation on any of major evaluative measures."
A "well-liked" advertising campaign does not always mean an increase in sales. Just like an "irritating" advertising campaign does not always suppress sales. The fact of matter is that effectiveness depends on factors other than "likeability", and what may be "irritating" to some may not be "irritating" to intended target. At same time, what may be "well-liked" by one group may not be received as well by another. It’s up to advertiser to determine most likely target and best way to reach that market to make a campaign effective.
Mark Levit is managing partner of Partners & Levit Advertising and a professor of marketing at New York University. Partners & Levit's clients include Procter & Gamble, UnitedHealth Group, and GE Commercial Finance. For more information call 212-696-1200 or visit www.partnerslevit.com.