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It's Not Your Father's Magazine Ad: Magnitude and Direction of Recent Changes in Advertising Style

By Edward F. McQuarrie and Barbara J. Phillips


"Future magazine ads “now have to be entertaining and reward the consumer, but from the standpoint of the advertiser, success remains ultimately a matter of increasing the probability of brand purchase."

Date: Fall 2008

Source: Journal of Advertising, 37 (3), pgs.95-106.

Type of Promotional Material/Activity Tested: Using content analysis of magazine ads highlighted in a series of nine studies conducted from 1969-2002 by Philip Burton (1969) and Scott Purvis and Philip Burton (2002) entitled, “Which Ad Pulled Best?” provided opportunities to observe changes in printed magazine advertising styles and overall effectiveness of printed magazine advertising styles.

Methodology: Researchers working with nine editions of “Which Ad Pulled Best,” each ad appearing in all of the nine editions were coded and scored using the following measures:

1.       Content analysis – Coding the ads were evaluated using the following parameters:
  2.       Copy testing – Using scores differentiated by sex (men and women), the ad copy was evaluated using the following criteria:
  Trend analysis was conducted using over 656 ads; consumer ads (n = 534) and business-to-business ads (n = 132). Because there were too few B2B ads, the researchers focused trend analysis on the consumer-based ads only.


Researchers based trend analysis on ad content using the following parameters:


Top Line Results:
Take Aways:


Complexity rating: 2 out of 3  (Complex statistical analysis scale: 1= none, 2= moderate, 3 = difficult)

This journal article available on a pay-per-view basis from the publisher M.E. Sharpe