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Leading international communication and public relations academics have welcomed and supported the “Say No to AVEs” call by AMEC to end the use of advertising value equivalents (AVEs) as a purported measure of editorial media publicity.
The Academic Advisory Group to AMEC, comprised of Professor Anne Gregory, University of Huddersfield, UK; Professor Jim Macnamara, University of Technology Sydney (Chair); Dr Tina McCorkindale, President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR); Professor Brad Rawlins, Arkansas State University; Professor Don Stacks, University of Miami; Emeritus Professor Tom Watson, Bournemouth University, UK; and Professor Ansgar Zerfass, University of Leipzig stated:
“Industry research studies indicate that so-called ‘advertising value equivalents’ (AVEs), also referred to ‘equivalent advertising value’, are still used by up to a third of PR and corporate communication practitioners worldwide despite irrefutable evidence that the calculation is invalid and misleading.
“AVEs, which equate the value of editorial media coverage with the cost of an equivalent amount of advertising, have been discredited as an evaluation method by a number of research studies on the grounds that:
They confuse value with cost, using an estimate of the cost of paid media advertising as the alleged value of editorial media publicity. The value of advertising is not measured by how much it costs. So such comparisons are conceptually and practically flawed;
Furthermore, the estimated ‘cost’ figures are hypothetical (what paid media advertising would have cost if purchased in the same media). Advertising is selectively placed and, in many instances, would not be placed in the media in which editorial publicity appears;
Advertising and PR are not equivalent. While advertising is controlled in terms of placement and content, editorial media coverage is uncontrolled and variable in terms of placement, content, and tone and needs to be analyzed qualitatively as well as quantitatively;
PR involves a much wider range of communication activities than editorial media coverage (e.g., Web sites, events, community relations) for which AVEs are irrelevant;
AVEs make no contribution to demonstrating outcomes or impact of communication, which should be the focus of evaluation.”
AMEC (the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication), has issued a statement detailing 22 reasons that AVEs are a flawed method of evaluation for PR, which further explains why AVEs are invalid and misleading.
Also, the Barcelona Principles supported by professional PR and communication industry bodies worldwide state that AVEs are not the value of PR or communication.
Communication and PR academics recommend that industry professionals use valid social science research methods for evaluation.