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Advertising Experiments at the Campbell Soup Company

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Abstract

In the mid 1970's, 19 controlled experiments in the marketplace were conducted by the Campbell Soup Company to evaluate the sales impact of advertising changes for various well established packaged food brands. Changes evaluated included: budget levels, seasonality, media type and mix, creative strategy and audience targeted. Markets defined by Selling Areas Marketing Inc. (SAMI) were used as the experimental units. One of the main findings that emerged when the experiments were viewed as a whole was that budget levels, given existing creative executions, generally had little or no impact on the sales of these well established brands. However, changes in copy strategy, media selection, media mix and targeting often produced a substantial payout. These findings had a significant influence on advertising strategy at Campbell Soup Company and led to: (a) Greater emphasis on strategic development and evaluation of copy. (b) Evaluation of a larger number of (sometimes unconventional) media. (c) Implementation of much greater differences in advertising weight in budget level tests.

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