Northwestern University marketing professor gets it wrong

A study, done by Mr. Grayson and Mathew Isaac, a professor at Seattle University, and published in April in the Journal of Consumer Research, surveyed 400 participants regarding 20 common tactics used in television and digital ads. Thirteen of the tactics elicited favorable responses, which surprised even marketers. When you reside in academia instead of the real world you live with blinders on.

Their hypothesis was that maybe, although people have said, ‘I don’t trust advertising.’ The truth is, there is a lot of advertising that they do trust.  Well, let’s tear this argument apart..

There is a wealth of ads that consumers “don’t need to trust” .  Ads, for example, for most grocery items don’t require consumers to “trust them”.  They are either interested in a new flavor of potato chips or they aren’t, but they aren’t going to think “I don’t trust this ad”. However, you can bet that trust is lacking, for example, in ads for prescription drugs or car insurance.

Let’s use Liberty Mutual insurance as an example.  Google “Liberty Mutual sucks” and you will find over 200,000 results with customer horror stories.  For prescription drugs, trust in pharma companies is at an all time low so online health seekers first go online before deciding to “ask about the product” with their doctor.

When I was in college for my undergrad degree in marketing the classes were taught by people who were better at publishing papers than actually working for a branded product. Would you rather attend a class taught by Mark Zuckerberg or one taught by someone who had several papers published in a marketing journal?

For some commercials you don’t need to trust the advertiser. If you want to try a new pizza product you’ll buy it, but trust has very little to do with the purchase decision unless you had a previous bad brand experience.

I’m surprised that marketing professors from such a great school would publish such a meaningless paper, but then they don’t have to worry about their brand losing market share or competitors changing strategy.

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