If you can measure it, you can fake it.


It happens in every industry.

Tell doctors or teachers they have to meet certain targets and suddenly that’s what they concentrate on, rather than teaching or consulting.

It’s the same in advertising. Measurement is often about fear. People want to guarantee an ad will work. Or at least guarantee they won’t get sacked if it doesn’t.

But if you want something original, it doesn’t work like that. Original means it hasn’t been tried before. And that involves some element of risk.

Many clients can’t handle risk. They think it’s bad.

Some clients can handle risk. They understand that calculated risk is what propels a brand from “me too” to “look at me”.

Risk aversion is why some clients spend ridiculous amounts of money in ridiculous ways testing concepts.

Eye tracking is one. A piece of software watches where a consumer’s eyes go on an ad. And then tells you whether the ad is bad or not.


Bill Bernbach said: “We’re so busy measuring what people think, we forget we’re in the business of persuading them to think something else.”

So much of this snake oil selling is simply preying on the fears of the Marketing Director. He or She can’t afford to mess up.

Here’s a question for you. Just about everybody pre-tests ads these days.

So how come there’s such a high proportion of ads that still suck?



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