Research & Initiatives

WFoA’s research efforts and initiatives focus on topics that help to further the WFoA mission and test the practical implications of the concepts identified with our WFoA Innovation Network in the Beyond Advertising model and roadmap.

Project collaborators, objectives, approaches, and findings to date are summarized below. Collaboration gifts to WFoA make possible research and initiatives of mutual interest in pursuit of our mission.

Current Research Collaborations and Initiatives

  • Implications of Beyond Advertising’s Five Forces of Change, Hearts and Science
  • CMOs of the Future: Research, Guidance, and Discourse, ANA and Deloitte
  • Personalization/Customization@Scale, Facebook
    WFoA is collaborating with Facebook’s GlobalMarketing Science team to understand the brand impact of personalizing marketing to relevant audiences, beyond demographics – based on interests, geographies, and other platform-specific, anonymized social media indicators. The goal is to create a dialogue about personalized marketing across platforms, industry categories, and audiences among brands, platforms, and the industry at large.
  • Video Content Across the Internet of Things: Lessons from Early Adopters, Glassview
    GlassView and the WFoA will collaborate on a research project exploring the future of video content and advertising across the Internet of Things. The project will serve to contribute to the dialogue surrounding future formats for digital video and to explore the Internet of Things as a platform for marketers and targeted content providers. This research will be guided by the All Touchpoint Value Creation Model, outlined in the Wharton Future of Advertising Program’s book Beyond Advertising,written by WFoA Executive Director Catharine Hays and Wharton Professor Yoram (Jerry) Wind.
  • Beyond Advertising Ad Formats: Where Wanted, Needed, Appreciated, Turner AdLabs
  • Media Future Summit, Media Post and NPR’s Bob Garfield
    Launched in 2015, WFoA co-hosts annual Media Future Summit with MediaPost and Bob Garfield, Host of NPR’s On the Media and WFoA Global Advisory Board member. The Summit is an exclusive gathering of top executives tapped from throughout the media ecosystem to seek lasting business solutions amid digital-age reordering of the media economy for the common cause of “vibrant, ethical and sustainable media in a democratic society”. MFS is invitation-only and participation signifies an ongoing commitment, leadership role and influence that can be marshaled at only the highest levels of ownership and management. Keynotes have included Alec Baldwin, Craig Newmark and in 2017, Preet Bharara.

Past Research Collaborations and Initiatives

Beyond Advertising: Creating Value Through All Customer Touchpoints, Wiley 2016

WFoA distilled the substance of the Advertising 2020 Project into a model and roadmap for the future, Beyond Advertising: Creating Value through All Customer Touchpoints, (Wind, Hays, and the WFoA Innovation Network) to highly positive reviews. From the cover: “This book is for all those who are realizing that tremendous and far-reaching changes continue unabated in the field of advertising and marketing and are having far-ranging consequences beyond these disciplines. With the impacts reverberating across executive ranks, throughout all reaches of organizations, and on to their stakeholders, the new concepts we present apply to large corporations and small enterprises alike, to anyone who has the desire to understand and harness the tremendous forces of change… or else risk being overtaken by those who do.” From over 200 diverse perspectives emerge a broader conception of the scope, practice, and value of “advertising,” encompassing every communication or point of interaction between a brand and a person. These include touchpoints outside the traditional realm of advertising and marketing such as product development, package design, customer service, store design, etc. In order to be successful today and in the future, all touchpoints must be orchestrated with optimized context and content as well as aligned objectives for win-win-win outcomes. In short, we need to move “beyond advertising.” “This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to be effective in reaching, influencing, and creating value. I think this book will be a milestone in the history of marketing communication.” -Philip Kotler, S.C. Johnson & Son Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. In addition to broad adoption by practitioners, some or all of the book is now on recommended reading lists for courses at Wharton, Columbia, Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Rutgers and is being adopted by many advertisers and agencies. Findings from the book were presented at the 2016 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and other key industry conferences through 2017.

Global Advertising 2020 Idealized Design and Collaboration Project

In 2012, WFoA launched the Advertising 2020 Project, using an Idealized Design approach to address the key challenges facing the industry. We asked executives and academics to step back from day-to-day demands to imagine a future on the other side of the current maelstrom: 1. What could/should advertising look like in 2020? 2. What should we do now for this future? Over 200 thought leaders, innovators, and visionaries from a breadth of disciplines and 22 countries provided 1000-word or less essays, all of which are posted on the WFoA website for broad accessibility, themed “playlists”, and comments. Preliminary findings from the entries and comments were presented in a keynote presentation at the 2013 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, the annual international “Oscars” of the advertising and marketing world.

Navigating Native Advertising: Practitioner Guidelines, Yahoo!

WFoA, in conjunction with Yahoo!, have designed a Framework for Native Advertising: a road map for ethically deploying Native Advertising while maximizing its effectiveness. This framework can be applied beyond digital media to all advertising and marketing. The backbone of this framework is WFoA’s R.A.V.E.S. guidelines for advertising, which hold that marketing is most effective when it is Relevant and Respectful, Actionable, emotionally and cognitively Valuable, and offers an Exceptional Experience and Surprising Story to its audience, delivered through all touch points.

Govil Summer Student Fellowship Program, Sanjay Govil

Thanks to a generous grant from Sanjay Govil, the Wharton Future of Advertising Program created a summer fellowship program for high school and college students. The Program benefited from the students’ fresh perspectives while the students gained experience working in a collaborative team environment on projects with a high degree of relevance in their lives as they consider possible career paths. Funds from the Program also enabled WFoA to hire essential Wharton and Penn student assistants throughout the academic year.

Empirical Generalizations in Advertising I & II Findings and Special JAR Issues

In 2008 and 2012, WFoA co-hosted with the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, Empirical Generalizations in Advertising Conferences. Each conference convened over 100 international academics and researchers to establish rigorous “law-like” findings about what works and what doesn’t work. Top papers were featured in best-selling, special issues of the Journal of Advertising Research What We Know About Advertising (June 2009) and What We Know About Advertising II (June 2013)

Creativity and Story

How are the roles, role definitions, and collaborations expanding and impacting effectiveness? WFoA began to explore these questions in two roundtable sessions held in NYC in 2011 on the Future of Creatives and Creative Ideas in the Digital World, co-hosted with Click to learn more about who attended and what was discussed, including current mental models of advertising and the need to challenge these models in today’s rapidly changing environment. The first session generated such enthusiasm, especially about Peter Field’s presentation on “The Link Between Creativity and Effectiveness,” that we held a follow-up session. Output from these sessions informed Professor Wind’s Wharton MBA class on Creativity as well as a master class presented at the Young Marketers Academy, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2015 with Gian Fulgoni and Chuck Porter: “The ROI of Creativity: The Triple Challenge.”

Orchestration and Talent

  • How can advertisers bridge the silos of the many touchpoints required for the delivery of effective advertising?
  • What are the implications to business and revenue models? How can the industry attract and retain new talent?
  • WFoA has explored these questions in the following forums:
  • Emerging Orchestrators and New Business and Revenue Models Roundtable, October 2011
  • Think with Google Forum: “Orchestration as the New Managerial Model in the Digital Age,” by Jerry Wind
  • ANA CMO Roundtable, October 2012
  • The Future of Creatives and Creativity in the Digital Age, April and July, 2011
  • Domino’s/CP+B Insight and Impact Report: “Reinventing Domino’s“
  • Executive Education classes: “Challenging Your Mental Models” and “The Future of Advertising”

Past Research Collaborations and Initiatives

What are the potential positive social impacts of advertising? How and why are advertisers creating winning strategies for their bottom line, their audiences, and society?

WFoA has explored these questions via:

  • Advertising 2020: What could/should advertising be in 2020? What should we do now for that future?
  • At the 2012 annual meeting of the WFoA Global Advisory Board, “Social Impact, Advertising 2020, and Recent Innovations,” special guest David Jones, CEO of Havas, kicked off the meeting with a discussion of his recent book, Who Cares Wins: Why Good Business is Better Business.
  • Catharine Hays spoke in April 2014 at “Should Advertising Have a Conscience,” an event organized by the Wharton undergraduate marketing club MUSE.

Global Insights and Lessons

What can we learn from innovations, experiences, and trends outside of our home countries?

The world of advertising is simultaneously shrinking and expanding as decisions about local and global become more relevant than ever. WFoA has convened Global Insights Roundtable Sessions in several different cities and countries to talk with local practitioners about the actual issues they face in their countries and industries. Read more about the co-hosts, participants and content of each session:

Paris, 2010
New Delhi, 2011
Philadelphia, 2011
Beijing, 2012
Tokyo, 2013
London, 2016

Made possible in part by a Wharton Global Initiatives Research Grant.

Many thanks to our generous hosts: Y&R Europe, Yahoo!, Bates, O&M China, Wharton Alumni Club of Japan, IPA.

To discuss research and initiative collaborations, contact Catharine Hays, WFoA Executive Director.