NEWS: COI database to monitor campaigns

The Government is developing Britain’s biggest computer-based system for analysing advertising effectiveness.

The Government is developing Britain’s biggest computer-based system for

analysing advertising effectiveness.

The Central Office of Information has already put one million responses

from the public on to a new database, which will eventually hold up to

three million responses from 150 campaigns run in the past two years.

The system, which is called COICARP, enables the Government to measure

the effectiveness of agencies working on its campaigns in reaching the

target audience.

From the autumn, COI officials will assess the worth of different types

of ad - for example, whether the left-hand pages of newspapers score

higher responses than the right, whether early pages are better than

late ones, the impact of colour and black and white and the most

effective length of a television ad. It will also test the maxim that

ads at the start and end of a commercial break are more effective than

those in the middle.

‘It is an exciting project,’ Peter Buchanan, the COI’s director of

advertising, said. ‘At the moment, we analyse individual campaigns but

we have never taken the data and looked at it all.’

Initially, the pounds 40,000-a-year system will help the COI’s clients

in government departments fine-tune their campaigns. However, Buchanan

said the COI would consider exchanging information with private sector

advertisers who are developing similar systems. He believed that COICARP

would be the biggest and that its relevance would be enhanced by the

fact that the COI’s media mix - with 45 per cent of its adspend on TV

and 40 per cent in the press - broadly reflected the industry as a


COI chiefs say the new database will increase the speed and accuracy of

their campaign evaluations.

Eventually, it could help them achieve their long-term goal of finding a

formula for measuring the quality of ads and introducing payment-by-

results for agencies (Campaign, 29 September 1995).

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