The Chicken and the Egg

8th June 2022
Posted in Projects
8th June 2022 Max Zagorski

The Chicken and the Egg

The big question: what should advertisers focus on first when planning a campaign? Is it the medium (the chicken) or the creative (the egg). The creative have often been said to be the most effective contributor; and it probably still is.


But the gap is closing.


A very well cited study, from Nielsen in 2017, set the tone for the debate, suggesting that more effectiveness comes from creative elements (49%) compared to media planning characteristics, like targeting and medium (36%). That being said, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, where tech and workflow is changing at a rapid pace, 13% isn’t a huge gap to make up.


Enter attention elasticity. This refers to the range of attention seconds possible under any given advertising format. Cinema? One big ol’ stretchy guy. Scrollable formats? Probably more comparable to a steel bar.


Sure, with amazing creative, that steel bar can still cut through and sell a product, but it’s certainly much less likely to do so.


This means that channels certainly matter in terms of attention. If you want the best results, it’s imperative to pair good creative with high attention formats. You can make the prettiest ad in the world, but if it’s sitting in low-attention formats that nobody sees, then your campaign might be a bit of a stinker.


Metaphors aside, the egg came first… in case you were wondering.

Source: Karen Nelson-Field, Attention Elasticity, May 2022


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