With Advertising Effectiveness, The Results Are Always Mixed

An article in Ad Age this week suggests all is not well at McDonald’s. And the ads are getting the blame for a sales slump.

Certainly, lackluster ads deserve scrutiny, but ad agencies are promising even more in the way of analytics to determine how effective campaigns can be. So if an agency promises results, who’s to blame when the results aren’t there?

In any marketing or ad campaign, you can make a laundry list of factors that could affect the ultimate results: The media mix. The quality of the imagery. Lack of mobile-optimized sites and emails. Or go beyond the actual agency-produced component: What happens when a consumer decides to buy something, or get more information, and that end of the experience falls short? Clearly it affects results, but should an advertising agency be held accountable for it?

While clients sign off on creative briefs, the media mix, and any testing mechanisms, agencies are often the first to get blamed for an effort that falls short of their promises or a client’s expectations. A successful advertising campaign has a thousand parents. A failed campaign is an orphan.

It’s the subject of my new column on Talent Zoo.

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About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.