Government Communication Service backs campaign to end use of AVEs

The Government Communication Service has come out in suppor of a campaign by the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) to end the use of advertising value equivalent (AVE) figures in measuring performance.

The Government Communication Service is backing a campaign to end the use of AVEs
The Government Communication Service is backing a campaign to end the use of AVEs
The GCS is also backing AMEC’s campaign, tweeting in response to a statement issued by a group of academics calling for an end to AVEs. 

Anne Gregory, professor of corporate communication at Huddersfield University; and Tom Watson, professor of public relations at Bournemouth University, are among a number of academics who have joined the campaign.

In a joint statement, the experts warned that despite "irrefutable evidence that the calculation is invalid and misleading," AVEs are still used by up to a third of comms professionals globally. 

The measurement, which equates the value of editorial media coverage with the cost of an equivalent amount of advertising, is "hypothetical" and based on "conceptually and practically flawed" comparisons between public relations and advertising.

The academics stated: "AVEs make no contribution to demonstrating outcomes or impact of communication, which should be the focus of evaluation."

The seven experts, who belong to AMEC’s academic advisory group, include Professor Jim Macnamara, University of Technology Sydney; Dr Tina McCorkindale, president, the Institute for Public Relations (IPR); Professor Brad Rawlins, Arkansas State University; Professor Don Stacks, Miami University; and Professor Ansgar Zerfass, Leipzig University.

And there has been "significant early progress" just weeks after the campaign’s launch, with the GCS one of the latest organisations to come out in support, according to Barry Leggetter, chief executive at AMEC.

AMEC’s members, which include agencies FleishmanHillard Fishburn, Cision and Kantar Media, are being asked to agree not to promote or offer AVEs as a metric, not to provide an AVE for any client report that will be used in any industry awards, and lobby awards organisers to disqualify entries that use AVEs.

Leggetter declined to disclose actual numbers of individuals and organisations backing the campaign. He told PRWeek: "We have real momentum on this campaign with our members, but will not embarrass anyone by the publication of a list. What’s important is that we at AMEC know what the status is."

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