Television has long been touted as the best medium for delivering an impactful message to the consumer. A new study, however, conducted by independent market research firm Harris Interactive, has found that online Superstitial ads can rival the brand recall, viewer acceptance and persuasive capabilities of TV commercials.
The study, which was unveiled today, was commissioned by Superstitials creator Unicast to increase understanding of the differences and similarities between TV spots and Superstitials. "We were not looking to judge a Superstitial ad against a TV commercial," said Allie Shaw, VP of global marketing at New York-based Unicast. Also, Unicast wants to make it easier for advertisers and marketers to decide on ad budgets for online and offline offerings by using the same criteria, she said.
To this end, Rochester, N.Y.-based Harris Interactive recruited three diverse advertisers -- Lincoln-Mercury, Nextel, and Miller Brewing Co.-- to provide one new TV spot and one new Superstitial, each containing the same message. Ads were provided by Y&R-The Media Edge, New York (for Lincoln-Mercury), Devon Direct, New York (Nextel), and Starcom, New York (Miller Brewing Co.).
The study found that in two out of three cases, Superstitials were as likeable as commercials, and brand recall was the same for both. Overall recall was 81 percent for Superstitials, versus 93 percent for TV spots.
In all three cases, both ads had a 30 percent increase in purchase consideration post ad exposure and a 10 percent increase in purchase intent.
Marianne Foley, VP of strategic initiatives, Harris Interactive, said these findings would likely come as a shock to the ad industry. "I hope this helps advertisers recognize that it's time to stop spending time on ad units that are 5 or 6 years old [such as banner ads] and say, "What [is the Internet medium] capable of against other mediums,' " she said.
At least one advertiser is intrigued by the results. "This study allows us to compare and contrast online and offline advertising, and helps cement the Internet as a critical component of our media mix," said Gina Shaffer, digital marketing manager, Miller Brewing Co.
Sarah J. Heim, ADWEEK. June 25, 2001
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