I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on this topic.

In my line of work we try to reach the right consumers with our advertising message to motivate action. One of the variables that we take into account when building a media campaign is “Duplication” – which is the degree to which individuals see your ad in more than one place. For example, of all the people who read Better Homes and Gardens magazine, 35% of them also ready Ladies Home Journal, therefore the audience between those two magazines is 35% “duplicated.”

So given that fictitious statistic, let’s pretend there are two potential advertising options for your brand (listed below as A and B). Please assume that in BOTH scenarios you will reach 80% of your target audience and 35% of your target audience will see the ad twice.

A: You should not advertise in both Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens. You should buy 2 pages in 1 of the magazines so that the 35% of your audience that sees your ad twice will see it two times in the same sitting (this will provide immediacy and repetition).

B: You should advertise in both Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens. You should buy 1 page in each magazine, because exposing 35% of your audience to your message in two separate venues provides greater benefit than exposing them to the two messages in the same magazine (I like to call this the 2+2=5 theory).

Let me know what you think!

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  • Alex

    I think there is more power in “4 out of 5 doctors recommend flossing” than “one doctor recommends flossing 4 times”. Scenario B is like getting a second opinion, and also triggers the “I think I remember something about this brand” reaction due to the latency between the exposures. This is an old psychology trick, and leads to increased liking.

    The experiments go something like: person is shown a few dozen photos of faces, and asked to rate the attractiveness of each. Then, a few days later, the task is repeated with new photos, and a few old ones mixed in. The old ones typically receive higher ratings than they did on the first exposure, though upon asking there is generally no recall of the repeated faces.

    Contrary to popular idiom, familiarity breeds liking. Repeated exposure harnesses that fact.

  • Awesome – thank you for the response.

    Let’s take the example one step farther. Below are two new options. In the options please control for creative effectiveness, message latency, and everything else except media channel.

    A: Your audience on average sees your ad 7 times in a variety of different magazines (7 total exposures).

    B: Your audience on average sees your ad 3 times in a variety of different magazines and 3 times on the internet (6 total exposures).

    Which scenario would you rather have?

  • Alex


    I think I would opt for B, especially since internet ads have that delightful instant gratification possibility. The cross-media exposure is also likely to lend additional credibility to the messaging.

    The question is, would it be preferable to have two magazine exposures, two internet exposures, and one TV exposure? What about just one of each, including TV(compared to options A and B you laid out)?