Group for Research in Decision Analysis

Synergistic, antagonistic, and asymmetric media interactions

Ceren Kolsarici Queen's Smith School of Business, Canada

Despite the highly touted potential for synergies in cross-media advertising, much has yet to be discovered about how the effects of multiple media combine to shape the sales response. Two challenges related to the investigation of media interaction effects are their complex nature and their specification in a sales response model. The authors adopt a flexible modeling approach, MARS (Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines), which captures parsimoniously complex interaction effects and facilitates their measurement and interpretation. Analysis of multiple data sets on brand sales and media spending points to the following typology of media interaction effects: 1) synergistic (positive interactions), 2) antagonistic (negative interactions), and 3) asymmetric, where each medium does not contribute equally to the interaction. The findings show that 44% of media spend produces synergistic effects, whereas 21% produces antagonistic effects. Hence synergy is not the de facto outcome of cross-media advertising. Interestingly, low-budget media play a key role in producing interaction effects.

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