Comms industry backs dropping AVE metric system

By By Wenlei Ma | 3 August 2011

Corporate communications departments would welcome an industry-wide PR measurement system following Ogilvy PR's pledge to ditch the controversial Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) metric.

Responding to last week's news of Ogilvy PR to cease using AVEs, ING Direct head of corporate affairs, David Breen, said he was aware of a certain amount of cynicism around AVEs and is not surprised when he hears about people dropping it.

Breen said: "I don't have a lot of faith around the system, some people live and breathe it. Coming up with a dollar figure is sometimes very palatable to reporting to CEOs and various boards. It can be a great way to justify the activity you've been doing in the market."

Breen believes one of the biggest issues facing PR is a lack of consensus on measurement and advocates for a measurement tool that could be used right across the industry. He concedes it would be a difficult task to develop but said it would be worthwhile.

Other brands said they used a variety of measurement tools including AVEs.

A Tourism Australia spokesperson said: "Tourism Australia uses a range of measures to evaluate its PR, which will vary depending upon the nature of the campaign. AVE is a measure well suited for publicity-driven campaigns but we may also evaluate by tracking key messages, tonality and even a specific call to action."

Dominos Pizza currently uses AVE as a measurement tool but a spokesperson said the company would welcome new ways to measure PR, especially as the brand grows its social media presence.

The Public Relations Institute of Australia did not respond to requests for comment.

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