MKTG 4320: Advertising
Auburn University Department of Marketing
Harbert College of Business
[discussion questions to accompany syllabus]
Professor Herbert Jack Rotfeld
By indicating the focus for upcoming class discussions, these questions provide study guides for the reading assignments. They provide helpful directions for the probable focus for quiz questions and students will be asked to answer many of these questions during class. However, these are not intended to serve as a test or final exam preview. The readings or lectures might not provide narrow "answers" to some of these items because the broadly stated questions don't have a single concrete answer.

I. Decision Makers & the Context for Their Decisions (topics 1-4)

TOPIC #1: Background and History of Advertising
{return to syllabus}Ivory Soap
  1. Based on the textbook's definition of advertising, looking at the relationship between business organizations, what is the difference between advertising and publicity by stating (a) who, (b) pays whom, (c) for what?
  2. Based on the definitions of advertising, sales promotion and publicity in the text, is the following an example of advertising? Why or why not? If not, what are they?
    →Is Stan Lee, co-creator with the late Jack Kirby (and others) of characters in the Marvel comic books, on the "Tonight Show" to discuss the new movie featuring Thor, Captain America and Iron Man advertising for the movies or advertising for action figures based on the characters?
    → A television program selling exercise equipment which buys time to run the show on various television stations or cable networks?
    →Is a new "Teen-Age Mutant Ninja Turtles" TV program advertising for the action figure toys?
  3. People often say that advertising is what makes mass production and mass distribution of products possible. What historical fact of the origins of branding and advertising in the latter half of the 19th century prove such assertions as false?
  4. In the 19th century, manufacturers of unbranded products sold everything they produced. To sell more, they would manufacturer more products knowing that it would all sell. What did the Rotzoll article note as the reason why manufacturers in the 1880s started product differentiation, branding and advertising? Obviously, it was not to sell more products, so why did he say companies started to brand and advertise their products?
  5. What is the name of the marketing activity that provides incentives for purchasing a product such as coupons or premiums?
  6. Why didn't advertisers in the 19th century consider magazines as an important advertising medium for branded products? (This asks for advertisers' decision options, not the views of magazine publishers.)
  7. Important Terms, particularly the differences between: creative strategy versus media strategy; generic versus brand advertising; national versus retail advertising; push versus pull strategy's use of marketing communications tools. (This last one asks about use of marketing communications tools, not the definitions of push versus pull.)
TOPIC #2: Organizations {return to syllabus}

The fact that advertising decision makers are rarely (if ever) members of their target audiences does not prevent them from communicating with those audiences, but a failure to recognize that the fact exists does.

  1. What discourages clients from hiring their own specialized experts instead of employing of full-service agency?
  2. What single word is the name of the department and job category of the people who: (a) prepare and plan the message strategy & tactics; (b) decide the mix of vehicles where the messages should appear? What two words are the department and jobs of the agency personnel who are the primary contact between the advertiser and its advertising/PR agency?
  3. The American Association of Advertising Agencies likes to claim that agencies provide a value in an "objective viewpoint." How does an understanding of agency-client relationships prove that such objectivity does not exist? (Do any of the assigned readings list clients that fired their agencies for a lack of objectivity?)
  4. What is a "media rep" company and what does it do?
  5. What is a "targeted agency" and what kind of work does it do for which types of audiences?
  6. While adhering to the Prime Direction, what is the false assumption behind "targeted" advertising agencies only working on advertising for their demographic groups? (This leads into perspectives needed for understanding communications theory under Topic #3 and audience segmentation data under Topic #4.)
  7. What does a advertising/promotional planner sees as the primary purpose of the mass media?
  8. Important Terms: billings; spec work (and why agencies don't like it); Account Executive; Account Services department; Creative department; copywriter; art director; Media department; creative boutique; targeted agency; media representative; national advertiser as defined by local newspaper, radio station or TV station.
  9. (Something to keep in mind for now, though you won't have enough information to answer it until topics 4 & 7) → How does understanding the nature of advertising organizations help explain why most firms take a top-down approach to decision making instead of assessing the cost of attaining goals?
TOPIC #3: Basic Theories {return to syllabus}
  1.  The communications model in the book states that there must be an overlap in experiences between a communicator and audience. Yet "affluent, well paid, college educated, white collar job holding, largest cities living, relatively young people," the description of the typical mass communications managers, is not a description of the typical advertising audience members. If targeted agencies are unnecessary attempts to create overlap between communicators and audiences, how does being different from an audience not foreclose a person's ability to communicate with those people? (See question 6 under topic 2) communications depends on the audience
  2. What is required for effective communications?
  3. What is the primary factor of communications decoding?
  4. What should be primary concern in use of a celebrity spokesperson in advertising?
  5. Finish this sentence in three words or less: "The mass communications theory that provides a basis by which you would expect subliminal advertising to influence consumer purchases _____ _____ _____." (Yes, it can be done in three words, or two if one is a contraction.)
  6. Inverted-Matthew Auto Repair has been running quarter-page ads in the local newspaper for months. The managers intuitively believe the ads get reader attention: models clad in form-fitting exercise suits stand under headlines that proclaim, "We want your body." But newspaper reading potential customers mostly report that they do not recall having seen ads for the shop. Based upon communication theory (and the concepts of the frame of reference, meaning and signs), explain how this can be happening!
  7. How can humorous commercials harm the advertising effectiveness?
  8. How do communications and persuasion theories explain why threats of death and destruction and heads rolling down the street might not be very persuasive to get young people to drive safely?
  9. An assessment of your reading: As you read the assigned chapters, what one topic stands out as highly probable for at least one quiz question from Professor Rotfeld?
  10. Important Terms: clutter; hierarchy of effects model; demographic data; psychological data; theory; difference between fear and a threat.
TOPIC #4: Setting Goals/Objectives {return to syllabus}
  1. What is the difference between a stereotype and a market segment? How does answering this help address the question on "targeted" agencies under topic #2? (The answer must follow the requirements of the syllabus' Prime Direction.)
  2. Why must all national advertisers include demographic data as part of their audience segmentation definition? Why are such data insufficient for other advertising decisions and what type of data must be used for those other decisions?
  3. Describe and explain a situation in which, after delineating your possible target audiences, your best target is neither the possible audience segment of the product's heavy users, nor the segment of present and potential customers with the most people. If not, who is the target and why should it be selected?
  4. What is an example of a good communications goal according to Colley's DAGMAR?
  5. What is the immediate, primary and pragmatic value in setting goals? (It is not for assessments of accomplishments, which would not be "immediate," nor is it to "keep everyone working together.")
  6. When advertising is the only marketing mix element that differs between firms, it is intuitively obvious that differences in sales must be the result of advertising, yet the text implies that communications goals would still be useful. Why?
  7. Apply the principles of a good objective in writing a communications objective for a leading brand of bicycles, and explain why it meets the text's criteria for good goals.  Is a good objective "To tell as many people as possible that bicycle riding is inexpensive fun for the whole family." Is this a good objective for a marketing communications campaign? Why? (Assess this by criteria for communications goals, NOT as a message strategy.)
  8. Important Terms: DAGMAR model; benchmark; audience segment; reach versus advertising exposure versus communications versus persuasion.
II. Communications Strategy (topics 5-7)
TOPICS #5: Creative Strategy (& Tactics)
{return to syllabus}
  1. What should be the primary determinate for a brand's creative strategy? How does it guide a decision for creative strategy to determine if and when (in terms of strategy, not tactics): (A) When should a celebrity be used as part of the message strategy -- this means a star presenter, not an endorser, which is a tactic -- and when should they be avoided? (It is not how they relate to the product itself) (B) What makes a product appropriate for use of a sex appeal or sexual images in the advertising? (It is not how the product is "used.") (C) How can humor used as a tool of message strategy?
  2. Many advertising writers complain that research data inhibit the production of "creative" advertising in that it imposes restrictions on their creative work; to meet research-based directives, they might not be able to win a creative award. Why are they right or wrong? What should a copywriter who makes such complaints be told, or rather, what short to-the-point answer would they probably be told?
  3. Message strategy and tactics is known as the "creative function." Does this mean that successful and creative movie makers be given free reign to plan message strategy and write/produce the resulting television commercials? Why or why not?
  4. In his reviews of the advertising, Bob Garfield found a common (and very basic) problem of strategy no matter how well produced the ads might prove to be. What are their problems? Why do the people in charge of making creative decisions make so many expensive campaigns that fail to sell the product?
  5. Working for the Inverted-Matthew Walking Shoes, you discover that present and potential purchasers perennially relate a stylistic aversion to donning the product. They are comfortable and last long, but they are also ugly. This attitude is pervasive and very strongly held. As copywriter, your assignment is to persuade people to consider going to the store to see how they feel. What do you do? Why? (The question says "as a copywriter," so the answer requires doing that person's job, not speaking in general descriptions.)
  6. How does the business term for the department of message strategy and tactics possibly cause the creation of "bad" or useless advertising?
  7. On the Bob Garfield reviews: What does he describe of that the Dyson advertising says about the vacuum cleaners? How does the message in Special K Berries commercials stand out? Why are the road rage commercials doomed to fail? What is the bottom line of the Lee Jeans advertising effort?
  8. Important Terms: storyboard; copywriter; art director
  9. Must know the differences between: account executives view of advertising's primary purpose versus some in their creative departments; creative as a job title versus artistic creativity; creative strategy versus creative tactics; star presenter versus an endorser
TOPIC #6: Media Strategy {return to syllabus}

For any advertising-supported vehicle, audiences have value only insofar as they able to attract advertisers who might wish to reach them. The success of a cable-TV network, radio station format, special content magazine, ethnic newspaper or some web delivery of news or entertainment is determined by their advertising support. You must view the media alternatives as a communications decision maker, not as an audience member.

  1. Important Terms that you need to know how they are calculated: gross impressions; reach; effective reach; average frequency; GRP; TRP; CPM; TCPM; clutter; waste. (The terms are at the top here because they are needed to answer questions below.)
  2. For just this room shown in the picture at the right, what is the reach of your commercial if it is running at this time? communications is not the same as "reach"
  3. What is the difference between "reach" in media strategy and "communications?" 
  4. When a subscriber takes several days to read a magazine, what does a media planner consider as the frequency of individual ads in that magazine? 
  5. What's the business term for a vehicle's high ratio of advertising to editorial content?
  6. What term describes the difference between CPM and TCPM and between GRP and TRP? 
  7. You have decided to run a series of local radio advertisements, using the same commercials and have to decide between two options with the exact same total costs: (1) Average frequency of target audience = 1.4, with a reach of 95% of the target audience; or (2) Average frequency of target audience = 6.65, with a reach of 20% of the target audience. Which schedule should you purchase? 
  8. Media vehicles' rates are usually compared on a CPM basis, but such comparisons should be made with extreme care. What are the factors which make such extreme care necessary?
  9. Our local advertising program runs in a community with 10,000 TV households. We can buy one television spot in each of seven programs that reach 30%, 10%, 15%, 16%, 14%, 25% and 20% of households, respectively. With this buy, our total reach would be 65% of the market or 6,500 households. In this market, how many households are in one ratings point? What is the GRP, the gross impressions in households, and the average frequency of this package?
TOPIC #7: Budget Setting {return to syllabus}
  1. Explain why a budgeting method like objective-and-task is more "information oriented" while percentage of (past or future) sales and affordable methods are more "judgment oriented."
  2. If a manager states "I never know how much to spend on advertising. My brand managers ask for a certain amount and I never know if I am spending too much or too little." Are some budget methods better than others to address this concern? Similarly, John Wanamaker said, "I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half." Address his comment in relation to various budget setting methods, noting how (or if) one budget method is better than others to help address this management issue?
  3. What does a competitive parity approach to budget setting presume about the spending levels of other companies in your industry?
  4. What is being done when the budget is set by an affordable method?
  5. If all of your competitors are expected to spend $90 million on advertising in the next year, and your sales goals for the year are a ten percent (10%) market share, what would a competitive approach to budget setting indicate as your advertising appropriation for that year?
  6. What does the S-shaped advertising-sales response curve suggest about very low advertising budgets and, after the "take off point," what is the relationship between increases in advertising spending and sales up to the point of diminishing returns?
  7. Under Topic 2, question #9, it was not answered as to "How does the nature of advertising organizations and agency-client relations help explain why most firms take a top-down approach to decision making instead of assessing the cost of attaining goals?" You should now be able to answer this: (a) state how a budget would be calculated by a task-objective approach; (b) indicate what type of information would be needed for this calculation; (c) review what type of expertise (i.e. job titles) would be best able to gather and interpret that information; and therefore (d) assess how modern agency-client relations play a role in this? (Answering this question requires reference to topics #2, 5 and 6, as well as 7.)
  8. Communications goals must be "realistic." What does this requirement indicate in the following two situations:
    a) You have carefully calculated the necessary advertising appropriation (also called a budget) by an objective-and-task approach and have come up with a figure that is grossly more than the firm can afford to spend in the coming year (i.e. there is no way the money can be obtained it is so out of line with current resources). What do you do?
    b) Is it situation any different when you are only slightly higher than what financial officer and senior marketing managers are willing to allocate? Why? What are your options?
  9. Important Terms: competitive parity; share of voice; investment versus expense view of advertising spending

III. Media Vehicles & Measurement (topics 8-12)
TOPICS #8: Media Selection - Broadcast & Cable
{return to syllabus

  1. What are the implications of the fragmentation of radio and cable television audiences a problem and as an opportunity for media planning and tactics?
  2. What does the increased clutter of prime time television mean for media decision making?
  3. Give a numerical example using the cost-per-thousand formula to show that even though a commercial in "NCIS" costs $10,000 more than the same ad in "Grimm," "NCIS" would be the more efficient buy. 
  4. What is the term for the local TV or radio stations that get programming from a network?
  5. What is the name of the time period before the Fall TV season when networks sell much of their commercial time and the large advertisers commit the bulk of their budgets for the upcoming holiday season? 
  6. What are the commercials sold on local television or radio stations by national advertisers who negotiate directly with the stations?
  7. And what is the name of the salespeople or companies that work for the local stations or cable systems selling to the national advertisers?
  8. What is the barter time on syndicated programs?
  9. "A national advertiser might buy spot TV spots." Define and distinguish between the two uses of term "spot" in that what is the difference between "spot TV" and "TV spots"?
  10. You have decided to run a series of local radio advertisements, using the same commercials and have to decide between two options with the exact same total costs: (1) Average frequency of target audience = 1.4, with a reach of 95% of the target audience; or (2) Average frequency of target audience = 6.65, with a reach of 20% of the target audience. What are the TRPs of each buy? Which schedule should you purchase?
  11. Important Terms: up-front market; station reps (also known as media reps); spot advertising (e.g. spot TV, spot radio, spot cable); TV spots; network; network affiliates; up front market; barter syndication; rating; GRP; TRP
TOPICS #9: Media Selection - Print {return to syllabus}how readers read
  1. As a media rep for the O-A News daily newspaper selling space to a national consumer goods advertiser, what is your "sales pitch?"
  2. What are the SRDS classifications of magazines?
  3. While a printacular placement can be a large revenue boost for a publication, why would some publishers be opposed to it, as well as other advertisers who purchased space in the same issue?
  4. Purchase of space that will only appear in the regional edition of any magazine (also known as a "partial-run") is considered more expensive than a purchase of the full national run despite the lower total costs, because it will have a higher CPM. Under what conditions can it be more cost efficient than the full national run?
  5. Cover 4 of any publication will cost more than page 54 or any inside page, yet by definition they have the same reach meaning that any special cover placement is a higher CPM purchase. How can this be quantitatively justified as cost efficient? (Remember, this is not about individual users of the vehicle, but what the media buyer is purchasing. It also involves the definition of reach versus advertising readership)
  6. Important Terms: Gatefold spread; printacular; Cover 4 (also cover 3 and cover 2); controlled circulation (also known as "controlled circ"); FSI; Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC); Run of paper rates (ROP); CPM; TCPM; partial run of magazine; reach versus readership
TOPICS #10: Media Selection - Support Media {return to syllabus}

 Unlike magazines, newspapers, TV and radio, the audiences for the "supporting" vehicles are not gathered for some purpose other than advertising. For the advertising messages, this alters the communications dynamic in that any audience attention that is created must be by something other than editorial content.

  1. Why do the the non-traditional and new media options defy audience measurement and how are the audience measurements misleading for Internet, buzz agents or other up-and-coming vehicle options?
  2. How are the audience measurement problems of question #1 an inherent limitation of the using those advertising media vehicles, especially when compared to more "traditional" options such as broadcasting, print or outdoor?
  3. As an advertiser, how confident are you of the promised audiences delivered for Internet or Specialty advertising?
  4. What does it mean to say that the advertising specialty is "useful" for the target audience and why is this important?
  5. What are the basic advantages and disadvantages of movie theater advertising?
  6. In Professor Horne's article, his collection of mail over 15 years provided an example of what ongoing error by many direct mail advertising companies?
  7. With the direct mail offers sent to Professor Horne, what does he question about the data collected by direct mail companies?
  8. Assume that after you graduate you set yourself up in a direct mail advertising-service business. You offer to plan and execute direct mail advertising campaigns for retailers, local clubs, hospitals and other local organizations. At lunch one fine day, a local businesswoman tells you that she thinks that most of the money spent on direct mail is wasted because most of the mail that comes to her is immediately thrown in the wastebasket. She is confident that the same practice is followed by the great majority of people. If that is true, she reasons, advertisers would be foolish to spend much (if any) money in direct mail. What is your response and how does Professor Horne's article guide you in making that answer?
  9. What does the GRP number for a package of outdoor signs indicate and for what time period? What is difference in meaning of GRP in Outdoor versus what the term means in the broadcast media?
  10. Can direct mail ever be quantitatively justified as an advertising medium when it's CPM is often 20 or 30 times that of television or magazines? (While you should not make CPM comparisons between dissimilar vehicles, this hypothetical discussion is to explain the nature of CPM and the value of direct mail for certain target audiences.)
  11. Based on the above questions, is there a part of the assigned readings that stands out as a probable focus for two or more questions on this quiz?
  12. Important Terms: advertising specialties; direct mail advertising; GRP for outdoor as different from broadcasting GRP
TOPICS #11: Sales Promotion & Publicity{return to syllabus}
  1. What is meant by the distinction between sales promotion moving the product toward the consumer while advertising moves the consumer toward the product?
  2. What are sales promotions designed to do that is different from other tools the fall under the advertising budget?
  3. How can increased use of sales promotion have a negative impact on brand equity?
  4. What types of consumers would a company not want to be the predominant users of coupons of other sales promotion offers?
  5. To a company selling a product or service, what is the key pragmatic managerial disadvantage of using product publicity instead of advertising?
  6. What determines if communications strategy can make use of product publicity as a sales tool?
  7. Why do many public relations specialists consider their job to mostly involve publicity control and why are they wrong?
  8. How does a publicist measure his or her effectiveness in the job?
  9. Important Terms: bonus packs; different types of sales promotions; difference between publicity and public relations
TOPIC #12: Research - Measuring Effects & Effectiveness {return to syllabus}
  1. Commercial A copytested slightly better than copytest B, but the creative director believes that, unlike A, the animatics do not give a good representation of what commercial B would look like after final and production. What research terminology explains what she is saying about the copytest? How would you choose which commercial to produce and use in the campaign?
  2. According to Weilbacher and other readings, what should be the basis for choosing the research method that would be used to ascertain potential effectiveness for any particular advertising effort?
  3. Weilbacher ("The Enigma of Copytesting") describes a common basis for selecting a copytest method, resulting in test results that might not provide the appropriate information for decisions. How did he say managers usually select the research approach for copytesting and why might this approach for choosing a research method provide a valid reason for creative people to ask that resulting data be ignored?
  4. While Weilbacher concedes that the common basis for selecting a research method for copytesting might be an exhibition of industry wisdom, yet he immediately notes from industry practice that disproves this as a possibility. What would show industry-wide wisdom and what reality illustrates that it does not exist?
  5. What are the three recognition scores generated by Starch Ad Readership Reports and how does a Starch score differ from a statement of the reach of an ad in a magazine?
  6. What is shown by physiological measures of advertising effects and what basic insight in not revealed by the measurement?
  7. Given the above questions on topic 12, what part of the readings can you be fairly certain will have multiple questions on the quiz, will be the basis for several questions in class and will probably be the focus of a question on the final exam?
  8. Important Terms: Burke Day-After Recall; portfolio tests; Starch Ad Readership Reports. Physiological measures; animatics