I’ve tried to strike AVEs from my lexicon. Firms like Influence Communication toss it right back on the table in articles like this about the Cirque du Soliel dude who went up into to space recently. The article, discussed recentlyon the InsidePR podcast notes that coverage equated to nearly $600 million in ad value. Yikes. Influence, you’ve sent me straight up. Into space with this one.
I’ll be characteristically crass and potentially career-limiting. Influence Communications, a sort of news aggregator / simple content analysis / fancy pie chart provider should receive the measurement misstep of the year award for this move. They’ve made much media hay with it. But they’ve done the rest of us–who have read a touch of PR theory and practice PR in this century–a disservice. They’ve thrown us back to the mid 1800s with PR being about selling tickets to the Barnham and Bailey (sp?) circus. With a client like that, Influence must have “no news is bad news” written on their boardroom wall in a circus-like font. The “we sell it cause it makes us money” argument just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Couple of things:
1. AVEs, used as we know they shouldn’t, are truly ridiculous. Used as an absolute: “our campaign garnered $600 million in equivalent ad value.” Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Used as one among many far more meaningful relative metrics to demonstrate change over time: OKish, I suppose, if properly qualified / articulated. Angela Jeffreys of VMS (and Institute for PR’s Measurement Commission Member) makes an interesting case for something she calls market value (or proxy) in this paper: http://www.instituteforpr.org/files/uploads/Media_Coverage_Business06.pdf But, I think rightly, she proposes that it not be called AVE and that we certainly not use the way we know we shouldn’t.
Links to several articles / blog posts the topic:
Ad Eq Hanging Around Like a Bad Smell:
Are We STILL Talking About AVE?
Just when You Thought it Was Safe to Go Back in the AVE H20:
Ad Eq Not-yet-Dead; May be Reincarnated: