Advertising is the art of getting a Unique selling proposition (USP) into heads of the most people at the lowest possible cost’ and if successfully done it causes a brand to get business away from the competitor, capturing finite space in the minds of consumers. Rosser Reeves, wrote the book “Reality in Advertising” in 1961 while he was chairman at Ted Bates and company and propagated a claim-based strategy for companies to advertise their product. He supported his strategy with research and used the packaged goods industry as the central ground, though the principles can be applied to other industries as well.
Looking at sales to measure the impact of a campaign might not yield an accurate result as there are other influential factors in a fluid marketplace. Reeves proposed an auditing approach where respondents are divided into two groups; those that remember the said advertisement and those that don't (penetration), then ask each group if they buy the product (usage pull). This helps to measure if the advertisement caused the consumer to buy, deterred them from buying or if they were buying the product anyway.
Once a USP is adopted, the campaign shouldn’t be changed too often and focus should be on one message to avoid confusion with multiple claims. This carefully decided upon USP defines a specific benefit of the product, different to that of the competitors and compelling to the consumer. Reeves also discusses the high number of misses in “brand image” campaign which don't rely on a USP and the importance of an advertiser to control his brilliance and focus more on results. Reeve’s “Copy Laboratory”, set up at Bates, that measured the effective delivery of a message in an advertisement before dissemination, is an excellent example of consumer research and Design Thinking in action.