Traditionally, the development of advertising messages has been based on "creative independence", sometimes catalysed by inductively generated empirical data. Due to the recent intensified focus on advertising effectiveness, this state of affairs is beginning to change. The purpose of the study described in this article is to compare the development and effects of two campaign proposals, with the sommon aim of increasing the consumption of apples among young Danes (18 to 35 years of age). One of the proposals is the result of an inductive-creative process, while the other is base on the MECCAS model, i.e. means-ends based data collection employing the laddering method and subsequent use of the guidelines for message development formulated in MECCAS. The project was a joint venture of the Association of Danish Fruit Growers, Odense, Denmark, and the MAPP Centre, and was financed by EU funds. The comparison involved the efficiency of the managerial communication taking place in the message development process as well as target group communication effects. The managerial communication was studied by interviews with the involved advertising agency (Midtmarketing, Ikast, Denmark) and client staff. The target group communication was assessed by pre-testing the two campaign proposals (n=500). The main finding of the managerial study was that the implementation of the MECCAS guidelines for message development led to better agency-client communication, which resulted in a more common understanding of the objective of the campaign. The pre-test showed that the MECCAS-based message compared to the conventionally developed message was perceived as more focused by the target group and stimulated better central processing.
International Journal of Advertising, 2001, Vol 20, Issue 4, p. 499-519