Ogilvy PR to abandon AVE

By By Wenlei Ma | 25 July 2011
Ogilvy PR chief executive, Kieran Moore.

Ogilvy PR has pledged to permanently ditch the controversial Advertising Equivalent Value (AVE) measurement system as it declares the "age of spin" dead.

Ogilvy PR will stop measuring communications effectiveness by AVE and instead will look at newly proposed "Value Metrics" guidelines developed by the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications.

The agency undertook research as part of the International Association of Business Communicators, looking at where the PR industry will be in a decade.

The research found AVE and "value of company/share price" as the lowest predicted measures with only 1% of surveyed respondents seeing it as the most important measure of activity in the future. 76% of respondents also agreed by 2021 the industry will refer to itself as communications professionals/agencies rather than PR professionals/agencies.

As a result of the survey findings, Ogilvy PR will further invest in its strategy, planning, creative and insights capabilities, with the agency on the hunt for a creative director.

Ogilvy PR chief executive Kieran Moore said: “We believe the age of spin, after being on life support for several years, is now dead. While we don’t agree with dropping ‘PR’ from our discipline, we think this shows that companies, organisations and individuals are demanding authentic communications advice that focuses on the reality of reputation - in the real world context of business and organisational needs."

“This research further emphasises that communications is both an art and a science. More than ever before, brands must remain authentic as audiences are looking for engagement that interests, excites, amuses and provokes thought. PR practitioners need to become even better storytellers as they relate a brand’s messages in compelling ways, whether you’re client or agency-side.”

Moore told AdNews Ogilvy PR worldwide will roll-out a whole series of measurement tools in September.

When asked how she would respond to a client who still wanted to use AVE after 2012, Moore said: "We would recommend a whole series of non-AVE measures that will fulfill their criteria. Often they're using AVE because there's no alternative, or the alternative is too expensive. I would be very surprised if by the end of 2012, if a client will still want to use AVE."

Clemenger Group's Porter Novelli managing director, Sydney, Richard Muller told AdNews his agency predominantly uses a proprietary tool to measure the effectiveness of a campaign and only resorts to AVE when a client specifically requests it.

Muller said: "Anybody who ditches AVE is doing a smart thing, it's a flawed measure. It was developed a few decades ago and hasn't kept up with how media has changed. There are challenges ahead for the PR industry to build credibility that looks at both the quality and quantity of coverage."

"Most marketers have a good sense of the value of a good PR campaign in this market but it is difficult to put it down on paper in a way that is easy to understand for people who aren't aware of all the context, and context is important."

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