A Theory that Built a Company
By Mike Hall, Founder, Hall & Partners, Specialist Research Agency
In a mere seven pages in Admap, where it was published in 1967, Stephen addresses a crucial question with simple analysis, lucid reasoning and a certain conclusion. This analysis is what originally inspired my company.
I first read it in 1977, 10 years after it was written and two years into my own career. I had two aims in mind: I wanted to understand how advertising worked and, far more important to me then, I wanted to get to the annual Market Research Society Conference the following March, which, as a junior researcher, I could achieve only by presenting an article of my own. Of that effort, the less said the better, but it had the singular benefit of forcing me to discover what had already been written on the subject.
With the rigours of the Oxford tutorial still freshly impressed on my psyche, I devoured the critical literature – and felt intellectually nauseous. I’ve never been able to read that American Journal of Advertising Research since, and frankly I doubt I’ve missed much. Stephen’s writings, by contrast, were like thunderbolts, flashes of light and manna all rolled into one-a multitude of effects, all emanating from heaven.
When, 14 years later, I delivered my second MRS conference article, unveiling the four models of how advertising works, the philosophy on which Hall & Partners’ work is based, I re-read this article. And now, coincidentally another 14 years ...