60:40 Ad Spend

Spend 60% Building the Brand and 40% on Activation (making the sale today)


The work of Les Binet and Peter Field has established that the most effective advertising is split 60:40 between brand-building and activation.

The International Practitioners of Advertising, IPA Databank of Case Studies shows that the most effective advertising strategies are geared 60% towards long-term brand building and 40% towards short-term activation.

At the IPA Effweek (London, October 2018), Peter Field re-affirmed that “brand building is the primary driver of long-term growth” that starts to happen about six months into the life of a campaign, but fewer are running for that long. “Increasingly we’re putting campaigns into the marketplace that we will never ever see significant long-term effects from, because they’re just not there long enough to embed the behavioral change that we’re trying to make,” he said.

“I want to nail the myth that brands and brand building are no longer important in the digital era,” he added. “It is possibly the most corrosive and idiotic piece of thinking that we’ve heard in recent years.”

A strong brand is essential to being agile in a marketing sense, he stated.

We’ve known this for decades—that response campaigns are much, much more powerful when they have a strong brand behind them and the brand is there to build them.” And that’s a dynamic that doesn’t work the other way round.

Even if a brand puts all its money into brand building, “the cost of doing that is about a 20% loss of effectiveness but the brand will remain strong,” he said. “We can correct the ineffectiveness at a moment’s notice by simply upping the activation.”

Go to the other extreme—“which more and more business have done”—and there is an enormous loss of effectiveness coupled with a weaker brand. “And there is no quick comeback from being this side,” Field advised. “It takes time and money to get back.”