The purpose of this study was to answer the question: “What advertising executional devices influence the effectiveness of a television commercial?” This one question immediately raises two more questions: (1) What do we mean by an executional device and how many are there? and (2) What does the effectiveness of a television commercial mean? Answers to these two more fundamental definitional questions are necessary before the primary question can be answered. We would like to share with you our answers to the two more fundamental questions, and briefly introduce some of our findings with respect to the primary question.
The search for answers to the definitional questions began with a review of communication and advertising theory and an examination of previous studies on which this theory is based. Previous work has tended to progress along two rather independent tracts. There is work by academicians, and there is work by the industry. The paths of these two sets of researchers occasionally cross but, unfortunately, not very often.
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