Quick update on AVEs

5 May

In my earlier post on Ad Value Equivalents (The Evils of AVEs), I somewhat tongue-in-cheek asked for help in coming up with a tenth reason why AVEs are a poor measure of public relations.  Well, I was re-reading a 2003 IPR article today written by Dr. Walter K. Lindenmann with Fraser Likely (Guidelines for Measuring the Effectiveness of PR Programs and Activities), and there was reason number ten staring me in the face. 

10. If you get a hit on the front page of a newspaper or a cover story in a magazine, there is no way to calculate an advertising equivalency since advertising space is never sold in these locations 

Love it, thanks Walt.  –Don B

4 Responses to “Quick update on AVEs”

  1. Katie Delahaye Paine May 8, 2006 at 11:52 am #

    How about an even dozen?
    11: The results can be very misleading. I’ve had several clients who were using “AVEs” to communicate their success to their leadership teams. The only problem was that while the AVEs were going steadily up, message communication, share of favorable positioning and share of positive press vs. the competition was plummeting. Top management only saw the rosy stuff until they started to lose market share.

    12: AVEs only apply to old-fashioned media. What’s the AVE for this conversation?

  2. Derek Hodge May 9, 2006 at 9:01 am #

    I’ve been at a seminar where someone presented an AVE for a picture of a company logo on the front page of a Sunday newspaper supplement. Then went on with a straight face to tell us that there had never been a company logo there before and that the space was not sold for advertising.

    Also what’s the AVE for a piece on a radio or television channel, such as most of those run by the BBC, where there’s no commercial advertising?

    People just make these numbers up.

  3. Mark Weiner June 17, 2006 at 2:19 am #


    Another point worth mentioning is that advertising delivers a much lower ROI than does PR. In one case based on marketing mix modeling, a statistical analysis which examines expenditure and sales revenues for different marketing and external agents, Delahaye discovered that a dollar spent on mass-market TV advertising yielded sales of $1.10; price promotions lost $.25 on every dollar spent; and PR generated a yield of $8.00 in sales for every dollar spent. What was more, PR’s decay rate extended for months while the effect of advertising died-off in a matter of weeks, and only PR has a positive effect on other marketing agents.

    Rather than being a case for multiplying ad values by eight (God forbid), this is another example of how even we in PR undervalue the uniqueness of what we do.

  4. Kelli December 1, 2006 at 4:48 pm #

    I am glad to know I am not the only one who finds this a bit absurd. . . I am still fairly new to the profession and had never heard anyone quantifying PR success in this way but was just this week at a meeting where the speaker was touting the success of his PR program in terms of AVEs. When I asked about it he got defensive and now my suspicions as to why have been confirmed . . this is bogus. I wish I had checked out this site before that meeting, but thanks for restoring my hope again in the profession.

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