Stimulus – Response model of Stephen King

More than 50 years ago, Stephen King challenged the popular marketing thinking with the Stimulus – Response model. A simple articulation of the model is that you cannot say “I am very funny” and expect people will laugh (Response). You have to start with the Response of the audience: to laugh, and go backwards to the Stimulus, which is a joke.

However, most Marketing models focus on the Input or Key message, more than the Response from consumers.

Focusing on the Response liberates the Creative team. In fact, Creative team at JWT was the first converts. They were liberated to create anything they wanted, as long as it delivered the desired outputs. Evaluating Creative then was also easier, as they had the Response as a tangible criteria.

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