In 1961, a landmark study broadly promoting copy testing came from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). The results are published in a book titled Defining Advertising Goals, Measuring Advertising Results, or, DAGMAR. The publication made the argument that, in addition to sales figures, the criterion for advertising effectiveness should be in terms of communication spectrum goals, i.e., Unawareness-Awareness-Comprehension-Conviction-Action.
The DAGMAR model recognized that people’s actions are motivated by cognitions and emotions. It came to be popularly known as the “learn-feel-do” theory and promoted the notion that people who understood advertising claims were more likely to buy than those who were merely aware of the brands.
The DAGMAR position was met with resistance from the motivational researchers, who continued to emphasize the brand imagery aspect of advertising.
However, other researchers contended that the main objective of advertising was as a form of communication, such as establishing familiarity with a new product or brand name. In their case, measured evidence of success lies in how effectively advertising communicates the brand, even though it may not result in an immediate spike in sales.
Another interesting concept that developed at this time was involvement. Herb Krugman (1965) defined involvement as “conscious deliberation of message content.” In other words, the more the reader deliberated the advertising message, the higher the involvement. Conversely, messages that do not require decoding or deliberation in any significant way were considered to be low-involvement.
William Wells found message relevance to be even more important than aesthetics in driving a purchase. He categorized products on the basis of their likeability – as belonging to either “approach” or “avoid” categories – and suggested that the “degree of involvement with the product (as well as risk associated with the purchase) are critical determinants of liking.” Subsequently, Wells et. al. (1964) introduced commercial rating scales that enabled consumers to rate their reactions to advertising.