PAIGE: So what I'd like to do nowis pivot to our second article, whichwill be presented by Maren Becker and Nico Wiegandfrom the Department of Retailing and Customer Managementat the University of Cologne.This interesting paper investigates the roleof authenticity in advertising.
PAIGE [continued]: So with that, I will turn it over to our next presenters.
MAREN BECKER: Thank you so much, Paige.Thank you for having us.We are really thrilled to be hereand to be able to present our research.So maybe I'll start by telling whywe think this is an interesting topic to research.Reading the business press and also talking to advertisers,we noticed that there is a common belief
MAREN BECKER [continued]: that authenticity is a major ingredientfor effective advertising.For example, Amir Kassaei, the chief creative of DDB Groupsays that "ads might be less likely to win at Cannes Lion,but they're very likely to win consumers' heart if they'reauthentic."So we were wondering if this is really the case,
MAREN BECKER [continued]: so is objectivity really a driver of advertisingeffectiveness?Also, we noticed that everyone uses authenticityin a very different context.So some talk about how the spokesperson is trustworthy.Others talk about how realistic is the story.And others talk about how the brand
MAREN BECKER [continued]: was represented in the ad.So there seems to be that there are different aspects thatare mentioned of an advertising execution thatmay render an ad authentic.So based on these issues, we were asking ourselvesthe following questions.So first, we wanted to know, whatare the different dimensions, if there are any,of authenticity in advertising?
MAREN BECKER [continued]: Second, we wanted to know if these dimensions, in fact,influence advertising effectiveness.And if so, are the differences between the different typesof brands or product categories all the samefor all kinds of brands?
NICO WIEGAND: So regarding the first question, so whatcomprises authenticity in advertising,we took to several sources.So we looked at related literature and authenticity,in general, and not in the advertising literature.We interviewed several brand managers, actually,and talked to them and asked what they believe
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: authenticity is comprised of.And we also did two consumer surveys on that issue.So I will present you four dimensionsthat we found that are important in our context of advertisingin the following.So the first one that we found ispreserving the brand's essence, whichmeans that the brand in their communication
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: draws a consistent picture of their valuesand of their styles.So it's just consistent in their communications over time.For example, you see one brand, one yogurt brand,from our sample here which is Activia.And this brand usually communicatesin a way based on positions on health issues
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: is that eating their yogurt improves bowel movement.And they also communicate, obviously in the same way,with regard to style.So this green color that you see hereis something that's very typical of their communication.So this example here reflects preserving the brand essence
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: very well.So what does this mean for the advertising effectiveness?So what do we expect?From the literature, we see that preserving the brand essencehas positive effects usually on advertising effectiveness.So it strengthens existing links to the brand.It increases brand recognition.
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: And it also makes the ad more memorablebecause consumers just recognize it right away.So these all point in favor of a positive effect on advertisingeffectiveness here.But there might also be a point thatpoints in the other direction, which
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: says that such advertisements might be perceived as boringand that they don't really grab consumers' attention verywell because they're very used to this kind of communication.But overall, the positive side is a little stronger,in the literature at least, so weexpect in the quantitative analysisthat preserving the brand essenceshould have a positive effect on advertising effectiveness.
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: So the second dimension we find from our analysisis honoring the brand heritage.So sometimes an advertising brandsrefer to their tradition, to their history,maybe they use a spokesperson whichis also the founder of the company,so there's different ways to do this.You'll see different examples here.
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: One is the example by the BMW 2 Series.And this advertisement features the very first versionof this automobile and also the latest version here.So this reflects that BMW is really good at doing this.They've been doing this for a long time,
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: and the two series has quite a tradition.So what does this mean for advertising effectiveness?Well, most studies say that brand heritage, honoringthe brand heritage, might positivelyreflect on the brand's reliability and competencebecause then the brands really show
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: that we've been doing this for a long time,and we're really good at it.And it also increases, or might increase, emotional commitmentby adding nostalgic value.So if people have some nostalgia connected to these brands,they see that they maybe used this car 30 years ago,
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: then this might also reflect positivelyon the brand and the advertisement.So this together, overall, this showsthat we would expect a positive effect of brand heritageon advertising effectiveness.The third dimension we see is showingthe realistic plot, which pertains more
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: to the advertising execution rather thanthe brand or the values.So here you see one advertisementby the detergent brand Cif, whichfeatures a very, very ordinary close to real live spots.So there is some children playing outside, getting dirty,getting their shoes dirty.
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: And the mother cleans the shoes with Cif.So this is a very ordinary story, very sincere story.No celebrities in there.Everything very down to earth and to everyday life.So realistic plots is a little moredifficult to assess in terms of what does it have,
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: what impact does it have on advertising effectiveness.So on the positive side, it couldmake consumers easily identify and interpret the product-- onebenefit-- because it's something that they can reallyrelate to very well and evoke feelings of sympathyand empathy.But on the other hand, just seeing such an ordinary spotmight be really boring for them, again,
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: just as in the case of preserving the brand essence.And thus, they might be less inclined to memorizeand remember this spot that they just saw.So overall, it's difficult to say here because thereare pros and cons.And so we're not really-- we were not really sure upfrontwhich effect will be shown in the data.
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: Finally, there is the last dimension that we find,that is presenting a credible message.And there's usually one main messagethat an ad tries to convey.You see here different examples.The example of the shampoo brand [INAUDIBLE]is one that shampoo brands really
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: like to use because they try to exaggerate a little bit.In this case, it says that your damaged hair is repaired upto 90% in just one week.I mean, that is something that you can't reallymeasure very well.It is exaggerated though.And as a consumer, I would ask myself,will that really be true if I use this shampoo?
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: On the other hand, we have Palmolive,which just claims very, very simply that their soap justimproves hygiene and care for your hands.So this is an example for a very credible message in this case.Overall, we would expect credible messageto have a positive effect on advertising effectiveness
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: because it strengthens consumers'trust, and the emotional commitment,and also credible messages shouldbe more relevant to consumers.And consumers might see puffery or vague languageas taking them for fools by the advertisement.
MAREN BECKER: Yeah.So now in order to investigate the impact of these fourdifferent dimensions on advertising effectiveness,we received weekly sales and the corresponding advertisingspending and creations from the Nielsen company.We got this data for six categories, six FMCG
MAREN BECKER [continued]: categories, including shampoo or household detergent, 67 brands,and 340 TV advertisings.So now this helps us to kind of getto know the advertising effectiveness.However, in order to quantify the content,we employed seven consumer experts
MAREN BECKER [continued]: that watched all 340 advertisings,and then they coded them on the adson the four authenticity dimensions and other controlvariables such as how emotional or informational is the ad.So having done this, we can now analyze the data,and these are our results.
MAREN BECKER [continued]: First, we see that the effect of authenticity, we see that--sorry-- preserving the brand's essenceactually has an effect on advertising effectiveness.So preserving the essence increases the effect.And the reason for this should bethat it really kind of reinforces the brand image
MAREN BECKER [continued]: that consumers have.This is especially the case for small brandswhich might not have yet established a brand image.So the brand manager really has to make sure that whentalking to the ad agency that theylet the agency know what is their standards, whatis their values, what are the different colors they use,
MAREN BECKER [continued]: et cetera.And it's really the responsibilityof the brand managers to do so.And this should not be, for creativity,should not be at the expense of the brand essence.Next, we find that heritage only works for small brands.
MAREN BECKER [continued]: So if a small brand's heritage positivelyinfluences advertising effectiveness,however, for large brands, we don't see this effect.It might be that for large brands like Snickersor Gillette, it seems somehow artificial and silly,and consumers just simply don't buy into that claim.Whereas for smaller brands they might think, oh, yeah,it could be likely.
MAREN BECKER [continued]: So managers really have to think about what kind of brandsthey are, and how big they are, and do consumers actuallybuy into that claim.Then the third result that we haveis that consumers-- like ads reallyhelp if they're unrealistic and not if they are realistic.The most likely reason for that is
MAREN BECKER [continued]: that unrealistic ads such as, for example, the Mr. Cleanexample that you can see here on the slide,is more entertainment and so theycan break through the advertising clutter.So marketing managers have to encourage agenciesto be more creative and maybe even includesome absurd elements because breaking through the ad clutter
MAREN BECKER [continued]: is really what's important here.And then the fourth finding is that, in fact--that actually advertising, that credibilitydoes not necessarily help.So it really depends on the brandif you're advertising should be credible.For utilitarian brands, such as brands
MAREN BECKER [continued]: that you buy to solve a problem, such as wholesale detergentsor shampoo, we can see that managersshould stick to the truth.Whereas hedonic brands, such as chocolate bars or cosmeticsthat consumers buy for fun or pleasure,
MAREN BECKER [continued]: you can actually exaggerate a bit,or puffery might not be such a bad thing.The reason for this could be that for utilitarian brands,consumers really focus on objective informationbecause they need to know that this product can actuallysolve their problem.Whereas for hedonic brands, they are more subjective claims.
MAREN BECKER [continued]: And also it's more abstract--the claim can be more abstract, as you can see herein the example, as well, open happinessis more an abstract claim, and it's alsovery exaggerated for this very hedonic brand Coca-Cola.Whereas Plantur 39, which is the shampoo, kind of very clearlystates what they are doing and are very true and very concrete
MAREN BECKER [continued]: at the same time.So here, again, brands have to think--brand managers have to think what kind of brand are they?And do you have to stick to the truth?Or can you exaggerate and play a little bit with it?Especially since for hedonic brands,for example, consumers often like the vague claimsand they kind of want to believe the claims even.
MAREN BECKER [continued]: Or how the founder of Revlon put it, "In the factorywe make cosmetics.In the store we sell hope."And that concludes our presentation.
PAIGE: Great.Thank you Maren and Nico.This is really interesting, especiallythe effects for hedonic versus utilitarian.I'd like to invite our participants to submitquestions for these authors.Again, if you want to ask a question,you can type the question into the Q&A tabin the audio box on the left.
PAIGE [continued]: And here is one.Pretty interesting question.How did you guys come up with this idea?
MAREN BECKER: Thank you for the question.That is interesting.So, basically, we were interested in advertisingbeforehand.And our co-author, Werner Reinartz, hedid some advertising work before so that wewere invited to the FE Awards.And during the FE Awards, the practicionersalways mentioned, oh, yeah, this is authentic.
MAREN BECKER [continued]: And this is good because it's an authentic ad.And so we were kind of thinking about this.And then we were reading the press and trying to--and we saw that this reemerged all the time, that everybodyputs authenticity as one of the key ingredients of advertisingeffectiveness.
PAIGE: And another question followingon that one, what surprised you the most in the data?
MAREN BECKER: Well, definitely the findingabout the credibility, because we really thoughtthat ads have to be credible.But that isn't-- for example, hedonic brands can be--they can exaggerate and use puffery.That makes sense because they often do it,and they have a lot of success with it.But we didn't think that this would happen.
MAREN BECKER [continued]: So we were kind of surprised about the finding at first.And then we talked to more and more managers,and it kind of made sense.Yeah.But this, I think, that's an interesting finding.And I think many managers may be afraid to use exaggerationor puffery.And we really tell them, well, you can, and you should.
MAREN BECKER [continued]: Same with the realistic plots.
PAIGE: Right.It's interesting that to be authentic you don't haveto be realistic and you don't have to be perfectly credible,but you can still maintain the brand essence.
MAREN BECKER: Exactly.So yeah, it shouldn't be on the expense of the brand essence.But yeah, if you keep the brand essence,then you can be unrealistic and sometimes youcan even exaggerate.So the different dimensions work differently.And that also shows that marketing managers,they have to be very precise on what dimension of authenticity
MAREN BECKER [continued]: they talk to when they speak with their ad agencies.
PAIGE: Right.Because you could just end up with a more boring adthat's not as effective otherwise.
MAREN BECKER: Exactly.Exactly.So the understanding really differs between the ad agenciesand the managers, and they reallyhave to specify what I mentioned they're talking about.
PAIGE: Great.Thank you.Another question.Can you quantify the impact on sales?If the managers change their ads accordingly,what would that mean in terms of brand sales?And how soon would you see those effects?
NICO WIEGAND: I can take this, Maren.So yeah, we did some simulations, actually,on improving authenticity dimensions.I mean, it does depend on the dimension, obviously.What the real sales impact is, well, based on our data,we used the ad that we had and the mean values of these four
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: dimensions as a starting point.And then we thought, OK, how can we improve these advertisementson these four dimensions?And what we see is, well, overall,and on average, the improvement is substantial.So it's between 1.5% and 3%, actually,depending on the authenticity dimension.
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: The dimensions that are most effective in increasing saleswere the message credibility that Maren just mentioned,which is the most surprising effect for us.But it was stable also throughout different data sets,which did increase for utilitarian categories,for example, the sales by 2.5% if you increase the--
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: on the authenticity dimension in a substantial way.So and the good thing is about thisthat it doesn't really cost more.It doesn't really cost advertisers more to do this.So with respect to increasing advertising effectiveness,very, very many managers often justincrease the budget which, of course,
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: then it's a question of, how much do I have to put in?And how much do I get out of it?But here increasing on the authenticity dimensionswas just a question of talking to the agencyand designing your ad in a different way.So this, I think, is a very good message for advertisers.
PAIGE: Right.And it's impressive that you can get that quantificationby dimension.So thank you for addressing that question.Do I see any more questions for participants?Please feel free to send some in.
PAIGE [continued]: Here comes one.Let's see.How does authenticity relate to brand personality dimensions?For instance, as the dimension of sincerity--is the dimension of sincerity more positively relatedto authenticity, but exciting brandmay be less related to authenticity?That's interesting.
NICO WIEGAND: Well, do I understand this rightthat it's about how much of the authenticity dimension comes--or the overall authenticity comesfrom the different dimensions?
PAIGE: Let's see.I think the question is fundamentally,how does authenticity relate to the different dimensionsof brand personality?Did you all look at that?
MAREN BECKER: Not-- yeah.Thank you for the question, Paige.No, we did not look at it, but it's an interesting question.And so basically, one would maybethink that for sincere brands brand essenceis more important than for exciting brands,for example, where, for example, the unrealistic plot would
MAREN BECKER [continued]: be more important.That could be a moderator, I think.Unfortunately, we didn't look at it yet,but it's an interesting question.
PAIGE: Yeah.It really is.
NICO WIEGAND: But if we look at the dimensionsof utilitarian and hedonic brandsthat might point in a similar direction probably.So you have an exciting brand thatmight be more inclined to use pufferyand a little bit of exaggeration.So I can imagine, even though we didn't look at this,that the effects could point in similar directions
NICO WIEGAND [continued]: as the effects of hedonic versus utilitarian brand.
PAIGE: Right.Certainly some ideas for future research.
MAREN BECKER: Yes, certainly.
PAIGE: Any other questions from the participants here?I'll give it a second.Well, seeing none at this point, Ithink it's time to thank these authors.
PAIGE [continued]: Thank you Maren and Nico for presenting this reallyinteresting research.
Publisher: American Marketing Association
Publication Year: 2019
Keywords: authenticity; brand equity; brand management; brand personality; consumer behavior; corporate values; credibility; qualitative interview; quantitative data analysis; quantitative research; Sales; Survey research; television advertising ... Show More
Segment Num.: 1
Maren Becker, PhD, and Nico Wiegand, PhD, University of Cologne, discuss their research on the role of authenticity and its effectiveness in television advertising.
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Maren Becker, PhD, and Nico Wiegand, PhD, University of Cologne, discuss their research on the role of authenticity and its effectiveness in television advertising.