Nielsen, M. (2012), "Advertising & Promotion. An Integrated Marketing Communications Approach", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 17 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/ccij.2012.16817caa.002Download as .RIS
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Advertising & Promotion. An Integrated Marketing Communications Approach
Advertising & Promotion. An Integrated Marketing Communications Approach
Article Type: Book review From: Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Volume 17, Issue 3
C. Hackley,Sage,London,2010,360 pp.,ISBN: 1849201463
This book is a well-written and very useful textbook for students of advertising. The book is “written with student needs in mind” (p. 1), and students will definitely get value for money. It offers profound insights into the advertising business from a managerial and a cultural and social perspective, and with its examples, inserts, chapter review questions, case studies and specific case study questions and glossary and website, it should be an excellent textbook for teachers of the subject as well, as they actually have an almost entire semester plan at their hands.
The book is on advertising and promotion, and it should be added that it almost exclusively covers advertising and promotion for for-profit, business-to-consumer companies, and that it to a high degree describes the advertising process seen from the advertising agency perspective. That is most useful for marketing managers to be, since they will be buying advertising from the agencies, and for that purpose, knowing how advertising agencies think and work is obviously a great advantage – and much needed, too (cf. Burrack and Nöcker, 2008, pp. 9-10).
According to the preface, in the 2nd edition chapters 2 and 5 have been “substantially re-written”, chapter 1 has been “re-written”, chapters 3 and 6 have been “re-titled”, chapters 7, 8, and 9 have been “updated and restructured” and chapter 10 “becomes ‘Integrating e-Marketing and Advertising’”. If you disregard the quantitative extension and the general update, the main difference between Hackley (2005) and Hackley (2010) seems to be the angle: Where the 1st edition focused more on branding, the 2nd edition devotes more attention to the embeddedness of advertising and promotion in Integrated Marketing Communications.
The book is divided into ten chapters. Each chapter is preceded by a chapter outline, and bullet points for key chapter contents. In each chapter, picture inserts and box sections highlight specific aspects, examples or cases. At the end of each chapter, a chapter summary, review exercises, a case study including case questions, suggestions for further reading and references to the companion website are found. At the end of the book there is a glossary and a comprehensive list of references. In other words, the way the book is structured follows the usual Anglo-Saxon textbook pattern. Below, I will comment further on the qualities of that structure.
Chapter 1 introduces advertising and promotion within the framework of an Integrated Marketing Communications approach and positions it within branding and symbolism. This chapter also describes the challenges that advertising agencies face in a changing global advertising environment, and it discusses the blurry definitions of advertising.
Chapter 2 presents two traditions of advertising theory. The first tradition presented is a cognitive, information processing approach including hierarchy-of-effects modeling which assume a cognitive-affective-conative order of effect (such as the famous AIDA model: attention – interest – desire – action). A classic Shannon and Weaver-style “transmission model of communication so prevalent in advertising theory” (p. 47) is presented and criticized for not necessarily being “appropriate for human communication” (p. 37) as it was developed “to model machine and not human communication” (p. 42). The socio-cultural approach is then presented as a more appropriate approach to model and to explain what is going on when advertising is interpreted and meaning is (re-)created by recipients of advertising.
Chapter 3 defines Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and the concept of brand, followed by the outline of an IMC plan: “Executive summary, Brand research and competition analysis, Target audience, Communication objectives, Advertising strategy, Creative approach, Media plan, Action plan and tactics, Budget estimates, Effectiveness” (pp. 84-85), which is subsequently elaborated. For some reason, the point “Action plan and tactics” seems to missing in this elaboration, as the Media plan (pp. 88-89) is followed directly by the Budget and Effectiveness (pp. 89-90).
The theme of chapter 4 is advertising agencies, their creative work and the advertising process. Advertising agencies are described as “cultural intermediaries” (p. 98) and the advertising process as social and cultural practices. This chapter offers interesting insights into the world of advertising agencies, their industrial history, the creative staff’s way of working, their self-conception and their sometimes counter-productive urge to win professional awards (p. 105-106). The six stages of the creative advertising development process are presented (pp. 120-128). Although not referred to explicitly, these stages correspond very much with stages in the IMC plan in chapter 3, e.g. the advertising strategy (pp. 121-122/p. 87), the creative brief (pp. 122-125) with the creative approach and creative brief (pp. 87-88), and tracking campaign effectiveness (pp. 125-128) with budget and effectiveness (pp. 89-90).
Chapter 5 deals with the media infrastructure for advertising, and presents media agencies that are often hired by the companies to facilitate media planning. Furthermore, audience segmentation is touched upon, including demographic, psychographic, and consumer behavior (brand communities) segmentation approaches. The strategic decision on the media mix are illustrated with a clear bias towards intermedia comparison (comparison between media classes), including media planning, and specific types of media for advertising like television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and outdoor, leaving intramedia comparison (comparison between media vehicles within a specific media class) a bit unnoticed (cf. Sissors and Baron, 2005, p. 223).
Chapter 6 is entitled “Non-Advertising Promotion in Integrated Marketing Communication” and takes a closer look at those tools within IMC that are not really advertising tools. Sponsorship, product placement (in TV shows and in movies), trade conferences and exhibitions, ambient, viral and guerilla marketing, corporate communication and public relations are presented in their capacity of being a part of IMC, albeit not of the narrow definition of advertising and promotion.
The international dimension of advertising is the content of chapter 7. Advertising, being “inherently a cultural product” (p. 194), is faced with the challenge of having to take into account the cultural differences between different regions and nations of an increasingly global world. The classic distinction between standardization and localization (Levitt, 1983) is briefly discussed. Furthermore, strategies that deal with cultural specific differences like transnational co-branding and country-of-origin strategies are described. In addition to the cross-cultural advertising products and campaigns, also the cross-cultural advertising processes, including international agency network cooperation and management, are presented.
Chapter 8 discusses ethics and regulation in advertising. Concrete examples of (self-)regulative bodies and of legislation are given. The chapter particularly discusses the many interfaces where advertising deeply interacts with and influences issues of public concern – like alcohol and tobacco consumption – the representation of women in advertising, obesity, and targeting children with advertising. Also, philosophical explanations of controversial issues in advertising are offered.
Chapter 9 gives an introduction to research in advertising. It begins with a presentation of reasons why advertising research is important, who conducts it and for who’s benefit. It turns out that advertising research is not only conducted to enhance effectiveness and quality of advertising, but very much also to politically justify the vast amounts of money that companies spend on advertising. A brief overview of qualitative and quantitative research method is offered.
Chapter 10 concludes the book with a presentation of e-marketing and mobile marketing and the process of integrating those advertising and marketing tools into IMC.
The ten chapters are followed by a glossary, which provides short concise definitions of relevant terms and notions like “account planner”, “copy-testing”, or “psycho-galvanometer tests”. The comprehensive list of references is followed by the indispensable subject index.
4 Pedagogical benefits
The review questions are very helpful in supporting the student reader in recapitulating the main points of the chapter. There are different types, and particularly questions where the student has to find examples of the phenomena described in the text seem to me to have a high pedagogical value. The case studies with separate questions are very illustrative, too. The glossary’s selection of lemmata seems obvious although you can always think of a couple of lemmata you would have wanted or even expected to be included in the glossary. But in any case, if not exhaustive the glossary is comprehensible and highly relevant.
The companion website is a very rich and useful resource for the subject and the book. For potential buyers and users of the books, the website offers unrestricted online access to a foretaste of some of the book’s contents like the table of contents and the glossary. For actual readers of the book, the selected articles for further reading succeed admirably in providing students with supplementary material. The very relevant list of links to other web resources is highly recommendable as well. Consistent with the book’s angle, the list of links also contains links to the advertising industry’s professional associations and their media.
5 Content comments
Very much focus in the book is on advertising agencies as the economic and organizational entities that in most cases (apart from in-house advertising) do the actual work. In my understanding, this is a very sensible approach, since it is very useful to know what is going on in the agencies, how they work and how they think. As a prospect advertising manager and buyer, it may be good to know that they can be “award hungry” (p. 119), and they are apparently so creative that they need to be “disciplined” (p. 88, p.119, p. 121). This interesting choice of words possibly discloses the author’s point that companies who want to brand and sell their products and advertising agencies do not necessarily have complete identical agendas. Actually, you might even say that the book’s general two-fold perspective on managerial aspects on the one hand and socio-cultural aspects on the other hand represent the different theoretical and scientific approaches of the two corporate entities involved in the advertising process: the companies with their managerial understanding of advertising and the advertising agencies with their more cultural approach to advertising as a social and cultural practice.
It is not explicitly made clear by the author, though, what careers he has in mind for the readers: Are they going to be marketing and advertising people in the companies, or are they going to be account managers, account planners, or copywriters? In any case, the career paths of the readers would rather be advertising managers, because there are hardly any descriptions of texts and textual structures.
What left me wondering was that the case of a campaign for de Beers Gem Diamonds’ was presented as one “interesting example of a standardized campaign” (Box 7.4, p. 205), when in fact the descriptions featured clear-cut examples of an adapted campaign:
The theme was adapted into the differing diamond-giving practices in different countries (…) The campaign (…) used the same cinematic technique in all the ads with local variations of music, copy and narrative, and a local voiceover. Each ad was made to be culturally relevant to a wide but connected geographic region (p. 205).
Here, the author could have chosen an example that more unambiguously illustrative a standardized campaign. It is the more surprising that the author chose that example because he quite rightly acknowledges that choosing between a standardized and a localized marketing strategy “is not a choice between alternatives but a question of degree” (pp. 203-204).
A general theme seems to be the uncertainty if advertising actually has an effect on sales figures and revenue. The author states that “the causal link between the advertisement and the sale can never be proven definitively” (p. 43) because “the relationship between advertising and sales is subject to many uncontrollable intervening variables in the consumer/market environment.” (p. 125). On several other occasions, the author makes that statement (p. 13-14, p. 19-20, p. 33, p. 80, p. 152, p. 241). On the one hand, that point makes the sections dealing with the research and measurement of campaign effectiveness look a bit weak, but on the other hand, it is highly appreciable that the author points out the difficulties in establishing a bullet-proof causal relation between advertising and sales figures.
One of the many strengths of the book, in my opinion, is that the author often refers to what might seem obvious to readers who are familiar with this subject, but what nevertheless is extremely important to point out to the student readership. For example, it can never be told enough times that the transmission model of communication does not at all reflect very well what happens when communication is going on. Also, I find it very necessary to write explicitly that: “all advertising communicates exactly the same message. It tries to persuade us to buy stuff” (p. 194, see also p. 221). Similarly, what much too often is completely left out in other textbooks is the fact that “agencies regard advertising as the answer to every marketing problem”, whereas “the agency commissioned should concede that advertising may not be the answer to the client’s problem”. This is a claim also put forward by other scholars (e.g. Backer et al., 1992, p. 3; Windahl et al., 1992, pp. 30-31). And additionally, quite refreshingly the author describes the phenomenon of product placement, where brand owners pay producers of TV and cinema entertainment to integrate their brand into the narratives of the TV show or the movie, as a negotiated deal which sometimes, and sometimes not, is the reason why a certain brand appears in a TV show or a movie: “Many brands seen on TV are there coincidentally an not as contracted deals” (p. 174, see also p. 170). So even though some of those and similar statements might be seen as truisms, they are ever so important and legitimate to include in the book.
All in all, the book is a very insightful guide to the world of advertising. It particularly devotes much attention to the actual production units of advertising: the advertising agencies. Combined with well-reflected and critical descriptions and discussions of the role of brands, companies, and media behind advertising, this approach provides the reader with an excellent understanding of the mechanisms of advertising and promotion as part of Integrated Marketing Communications.
In that regard, the book offers an additional important aspect to advertising in IMC. Belch and Belch (2004), Duncan (2005) and Wells et al. (2005), offer that aspect, too, but not so consistently as Hackley (2010), and de Pelsmacker et al. (2007) have chosen only to mention advertising agencies on rare occasions (de Pelsmacker et al., 2007, p. 7 and p. 30). So although those books might be more comprehensive, Hackley (2010) definitely has his legitimacy in the landscape of advertising textbooks.
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