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The following is from a campaign by Big Boards, Inc., to convince companies
in River City that their sales will increase if they use Big Boards billboards for
advertising their locally manufactured products.
“The potential of Big Boards to increase sales of your products can be seen from an
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experiment we conducted last year. We increased public awareness of the name of
the current national women’s marathon champion by publishing her picture and her
name on billboards in River City for a period of three months. Before this time,
although the champion had just won her title and was receiving extensive national
publicity, only five percent of 15,000 randomly surveyed residents of River City
could correctly name the champion when shown her picture; after the three-month
advertising experiment, 35 percent of respondents from a second survey could
supply her name.”
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
In an advertising experiment, Big Board, Inc. displayed the name and picture of a. little-known athlete on several of its local billboards
over a 3-month period. Because the experiment increased recognition of the athlete’s name, Big Boards now argues that local companies
will increase their sales if they advertise their products on Big Board’s billboards. This argument is unconvincing for two important
The main problem with this argument is that the advertising experiment with the athlete shows only that name recognition can be
increased by billboard advertising; it does not show that product sales can be increased by this form of advertising. Name recognition,
while admittedly an important aspect of a product’s selling potential, is not the only reason merchandise sells. Affordability, quality, and
desirability are equally, if not more, important features a product must possess in order to sell. To suggest, as Big Board’s campaign
does, that name recognition alone is sufficient to increase sales is simply ludicrous.
Another problem with the argument is that while the first survey—in which only five percent of 15,000 randomly-selected residents could
name the athlete—seems reliable, the results of the second survey are questionable on two grounds. First, the argument provides no
information regarding how many residents were polled in the second survey or how they were selected. Secondly, the argument does not
indicate the total number of respondents to the second survey. In the absence of this information about the second survey, it is
impossible to determine the significance of its results.
In conclusion, Big Board’s argument is not convincing. To strengthen the argument, Big Board must provide additional information
regarding the manner in which the second survey was conducted. It must also provide additional evidence that an increase in name
recognition will result in an increase in sales.