Monday, July 17, 2006

The year was 1957 and the number was 1,518

The year was 1957 and the orator was Edwin Ebel, VP General Foods. His speech gave rise to one of the widely and most used statistics of his day, the average family of four receives 1,518 advertising exposures each day. An except follows [Britt, Adams, Miller: Journal of Advertising Research, Dec. 1972]:
Did you ever calculate how much advertising an ordinary family is exposed to? A couple of bright young men in my office did some statistically inadequate research for me that is most interesting. It is inadequate only because it represents a picture of one family but the family is typical of many families in America--John, who commutes to work; his wife Mary; and their two children. We made a careful count of the advertising this family was exposed to in one ordinary working day.
It is intriguing to me that a number, based on what sounds to be back of the napkin work, exists almost 50 years later for the answer to the intriguing question of this blog. Just for fun, using an inflation calculator, I punched in the number of 1,518 exposures in 1957 and the total came back as 10,316 at the end of 2005. Perhaps advertising is not keeping pace with inflation? Please let me know what you think.

No comments: