Advertising Principles - Evidence-based principles

Finalist for AMA’s 2011 Best Book in Marketing

A complete description of the principles has
been published in Persuasive Advertising

German Edition available

Chinese Version available

Dictionary of terms used in Advertising Principles

There are 61 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition

Remembrance of an ad’s content. There are many ways to measure recall. For example, in our analyses of ads from Which ad Pulled Best?, recall was Proven Name Registration (PNR); it was measured a day after the respondent has read the magazine with the target ad in it. Measuring PNR involves Unaided Recall ("What ads do you remember in the Time magazine that you read yesterday?"), Category-aided recall ("Do you remember any ads for any cars? Which ones?") and Brand aided recall ("Do you remember an ad for Toyota?"). PNR is the percentage of respondents who are able to correctly remember the target ad and then go on to describe the ad accurately when asked to do so.

Received wisdom

Commonly held beliefs that are based only on unaided judgment, as reflected by typical practice and expert opinions.

Return on investment (ROI)

The profit earned divided by the investment employed to earn that return; usually expressed as a percentage gain on an annual basis (e.g., P&G assesses ROI at least twice a year on each of its brands).

Rhetorical device

A technique for using language to produce emphasis (i.e., repetition or alliteration).

Sans serif typeface

A typeface without serifs, and usually with minimal or no variation in thickness of strokes. Helvetica is a sans serif face.

Search product

A product for which the consumer can evaluate claims easily and accurately prior to making a purchase by inspecting the product or by using information sources, such as Consumer Reports or

Serif typeface

A type style with definitive endings (serifs) to the open-ended letter strokes and most corners of letters; the small finishing lines attached to the letters. Times New Roman is a moderate Serif typeface.


Words superimposed on a TV, video, movie, or computer screen during an ad.


A phrase that conveys a brand’s most important product attribute or benefit in a short memorable phrase. Used as a synonym for “slogan.”

Time compression

A device used in broadcast production to delete time from television or radio commercials, primarily by reducing the intervals between words.

Transformational product

See Hedonic product.

USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

A short statement of a product’s strongest benefit (real or perceived). It can be objective or subjective, and it can be rational or emotional.

Utilitarian product

A product or service that solves a problem.


An unseen narrator or commentator in TV commercials.

WAPB (Which Ad Pulled Best)

A series of books that presents 50 pairs of ads, each matched against another ad for the same product, ad size and media (and half the time for the same brand). For details, see Appendix B. As of 2002, the series was in its 9th edition.

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