Numerous memory concepts have significant implications for the field of advertising. The following conclusions represent only a sampling of the useful guidelines that are available. While some are drawn directly from our previous discussion others represent extensions of that material. Of course in all cases these conclusions are generalization which will not apply in every specific case.
Advertising messages with unique aspects have a greater potential for being remembered. This occurs because material with unusual aspects is least affected by the interference process of forgetting. This is one factor that motivates advertisers to seek novel approaches and themes for their messages. Another potential benefit is that products characterized by ads a somewhat unique may actually led to a more favorable evaluation by consumers.
The order in which material is presented seems to influence how well it will be retained with the middle portion being most easily forgotten. This apparently occurs because the beginning and ending of messages stand out the most and interfere with remembering material in between (retroactive and proactive inhibition). The implication is that the most important parts of advertising messages should be placed at the beginning or end, or both conversely some direct mail advertisers bury the price of their merchandise in the middle of a long better so as to minimize its negative impact on a purchase decision.
Messages that encourage immediate rehearsal of material stimulate its retention. Maintenance rehearsal keeps material in short term memory. Elaborative rehearsal will encourage the transfer of material to long term memory. This is why some radio and television advertisers encourage listeners to repeat a telephone number or address several times, and also attempt to develop some meaningful pattern to the number.
More information can be processed and retained if it is chunked. Because the capacity of short term memory is approximately seven times, chunking can be viewed as a way to package a greater amount of information efficiently. This suggests that advertisers should attempt to find appropriate methods of chunking information for consumers so that they can deliver a greater amount of message content in the limited time or space at their disposal.
The amount of information that can be transferred to long term memory is a function of the time available for processing. When recall of a message will be required, approximately five to ten seconds is required to transfer one chunk of information to long term memory through memorization. The amount of information that an advertiser presents should therefore be tailored o the amount of time available for processing and the way the information can be packaged.
Memory is cue dependent and presentation of relevant cues will simulate recall. Apparently certain cues present during the learning context become associated with the material in memory. Their presentation at a later date facilities recall of the learned material. This process can be very effectively employed by designing packages and point of purchase displays to contain the same cues used in advertisements for the product. For example a picture of a babbling mountain brook reminds some consumers of Coors beer, and just the word blimp reminds others off Goodyear.
Material retained on long term memory can be quite different from the information presented in a learning situation. This is so because some information will be lost from short term memory, the consumer may generate inferences and cognitive responses and material will also be drawn from long term memory. It is important for advertisers to understand these activities and their potential in any specific situation for influencing the meaning that consumers drive from promotional messages.
Material that is meaningful to the individual is learned more quickly and therefore has a greater chance of being retained than non- meaningful material. Apparently meaningful material actively involves the individual’s mental capacities and this leads to its greater retention. Therefore the strong recommendation that has been made for some time is to design advertisements that stimulate consumers’ mental involvement thereby making messages meaningful to them. However, the marketer should develop the specific meaning desired for the message rather than relying on chance for consumers to determine what meaning they will derive from themselves.