Contact BSI
Derrick Daye
813.842.2260 Email us

Advertising Frequency Theory: Circa 1885


Advertising Frequency Theory: Circa 1885

Thomas Smith wrote a guide called Successful Advertising in 1885. We can see its relevance to this day.

1.  The first time a man looks at an advertisement, he does not see it.
2.  The second time, he does not notice it.
3.  The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
4.  The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it before.
5.  The fifth time, he reads it.
6.  The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
7.  The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh brother!”
8.  The eighth time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”
9.  The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.
10.  The tenth time, he asks his neighbor if he has tried it.
11.  The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
12.  The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
13.  The thirteenth time, he thinks perhaps it might be worth something.
14.  The fourteenth time, he remembers wanting such a thing a long time.
15.  The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
16.  The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it some day.
17.  The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum to buy it.
18.  The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
19.  The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
20.  The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys what it is offering.

Thomas Smith, London, l885

The Blake Project Can Help: The Brand Positioning Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

Recommend this story

Subscribe, Follow and Stay Connected to BSI


1 Comment

Simon Foster on May 12th, 2011 said

I am glad you have dated this piece 1885, because this approach is now shown to be out of date thinking. New work by marketing academics like John Philip Jones, one of the worlds lead marketing effectiveness thinkers and Emeritus Professor at Syracuse University has resulted in findings that support the importance of the first exposure but which also reveal the decreasing cost effectiveness of subsequent exposures. Jones found that:

1) One exposure has a significant effect on purchasing
2) Two exposures do not have twice the effect of one exposure but usually cost twice as much.
3) This diminishing return deepens as more Frequency is added to the campaign.

So, the general rule is: Frequency drives diminishing returns. This means that as you spend more each $ or £ spent pays back less and less.

Leave a Reply

Submit your comment