In this study, the authors conduct a systematic investigation on the evolution in the effectiveness of two important marketing mix instruments, advertising and price, over the business cycle. Analyses are based on 163 branded products in 37 mature CPG categories in the UK, and this for a period of 15 years. The data are a combination of (i) monthly national sales data, (ii) monthly advertising data, (iii) data on the general economic conditions, and (iv) consumer survey data. Consumers are shown to be more price sensitive during contractions. In addition, spending patterns will be less consistent, implying smaller brand loyalty. Advertising elasticities, however, do not seem to be affected by economic downturns. Product involvement was shown to be an influential moderator of the final effect of advertising, price and carry-over effects on sales. Finally, although short run effectiveness of price differs between expansions and contractions, the long run effectiveness of both advertising and price is not altered by differences in the general economic conditions.
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