Time for awards to ban AVEs

Posted on: April 5, 2007

Just when you thought that Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) had been buried as invalid measurements, they pop up out of the ground.In the UK, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has led the way in promoting best practice in public relations planning, research and evaluation with its PR Evaluation Toolkit which has appeared in three versions. But no-one seems to have told its members or awards judging panels that AVEs suck.The Pride Awards for 2006/07 which have rolled out over recent months have such howlers for its regional winners as:“Advertising Value Equivalent of more than £409,000”

“… the launch’s Advertising Value Equivalent exceeding £65,000”

“has generated almost £800,000 worth of positive coverage for the project in 18 months”

If these are supposed to be exemplars of public relation practice, shouldn’t the CIPR be working to eliminate AVEs? It has, after all, been working since 1999 to educate the industry that best practice isn’t based on spurious measures. In 2005, it published its benchmark “Moving the Debate Forward” paper on measurement and evaluation. This paper emphasised the use of robust methodology and that multiple methods should be applied. The absence of AVEs was notable.

It’s time for CIPR and all public relations awards judging panels to bury AVEs by actively discouraging their use in entries.

* I have been a CIPR member since 1983 and Fellow since 1998.


4 Responses to "Time for awards to ban AVEs"

To take up Michael’s point to your last post, perhaps we should welcome these people who include AVE’s. The cost of press advertsing is falling so fast that the value of PR must be dropping like a stone. the AVE merchant’s efforts are as good as there measurement – falling in value by the hour.
Presumably this also means that the value of the PR industry is falling as well – congratulations CIPR, you are the agent of de-valuing the industry. Any bids on £2.5 billion down from £3 billion three years ago? At least, when the value of this work is zip, the rest of us can re-build a better model of practice.

[…] egg situation? Posted in Public Relations, Education by greenbanana on the April 5th, 2007 Tom Watson highlights the problem of promoting best practice examples of public relations by […]

I understand completely the points you guys are making.

The big question I grapple with is what are the measures that we can replace AVE with?

Given the fixation with measurability and accountability how can PR prove its worth alongside other more easily accountable disciplines?


Simon – you, of all people should know. If it don’t get pulled it was bling, spin, hype or an ave.

The measure is not first touch, its secondary effect. If there is no evidence of ‘your story’ in social media, its worth was zip. If the story is covered in social media, it had value (an associated behaviour), If it linked to your web site (a behaviour with intent) its has worth. If you did something because of the link, you added value to the organisation.

Its a simple value added sum of money.

To put it another way, if the coverage did not affect the tangible of intangible value of the organisation it was a waste of resource. If it did change the value, what investment was put behind it? That is the value of PR.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 17 other followers



Subscribe in NewsGator Online


Tom Watson

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

%d bloggers like this: