The traditional model of advertising effectiveness assumes a direct, conscious route from viewing an ad to making a purchase. But advances in brain science have identified an indirect route that takes into account nonconscious processes. Each route is more likely to succeed in different circumstances.

Direct Route to Advertising Effectiveness Indirect Route to Advertising Effectiveness
Purpose To communicate a simple and logical argument that persuades consumers to buy a product, either by reinforcing their current preferences or by changing their preferences from a competing product. Two steps: First, influence brand equity by changing brand attitudes, memory, and intentions toward the brand. Then, allow brand attitudes and associations to impact sales at the point of purchase.
Emphasis Attention, conscious processing, logical argument, explicit recall, and immediate sales. Emotional connections, nonconscious processing, implicit memory, brand attitudes, and future sales.
When it works the best When the product or the product category is new, when the product is expensive and purchased infrequently, when the purpose of the ad is to generate a direct response rather than an impression leading to a sale in the future. When the product and its category are well established and familiar; when the ad minimizes information and message content and focuses on an emotionally engaging narrative in which the brand plays a central role; when the product is inexpensive and purchased frequently, so the ad is aimed at building or reinforcing longer-term associations with the brand.