In diagnosing advertising, we need to understand the extent to which it succeeds in imparting key messages. Do consumers recollect the messages that the advertising intended to communicate? What messages and impressions from the advertising do they recall?

Advertising message recall is measured by means of the following open-ended questions to which respondents give unaided, spontaneous answers:

Execution: You said you noticed advertising for [brand] on TV recently. Please write down everything you remember that was shown or said.

Message comprehension: What messages can you remember from the recent TV advertising of [brand]? What was it saying? What impressions did it give you about [brand]?

To assess comprehension, respondents are also asked in an overall context whether the ad was confusing or easy to follow.

These questions determine if the intended messages are getting through to respondents. They also provide an indication of the consumer’s memory distortion and learning effects over time.

It is often observed that some portions of an ad are recalled far more than their airtime might suggest. Indeed, if the advertisement is well crafted, creative elements amplify the intended thoughts, feeling, images and messages so that their presence is magnified in people’s minds.

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