MECCAS Model of Advertising

Conceptually, the fundamental challenge for an advertising strategist is to have a strategic understanding of consumers and use that understanding as the foundation for creating different positionings. This issue has been effectively solved using an aggregate means-end chain strategy to understand consumers.

Background of MECCAS

MECCAS (Means-End Conceptualization of the Components of Advertising Strategy) is based on the means-end-chain (MEC) theory, which outlines the associations that each consumer makes between the characteristics of a product, their effects, and their values. Therefore, the MECCAS model starts with the individual consumer rather than the kind of product. In addition, the MEC theory views cognition and affection as interrelated rather than opposites. The cognitive processes create or elicit associations between concrete product qualities and their effects. In contrast, affective processes are involved when associations between outcomes and personal values are generated or elicited.

What is MEC?

Gutman brought the Means-End Chain (MEC) hypothesis to marketing and consumer research. His hypothesis was motivated by studies by Rokeach and Yankelovich that demonstrated how people's behavior is influenced by their values in all spheres of life. To explain how customers distinguish between competing items and eventually allocate personal utilities that lead to choice behavior, means-end theory offers both a cognitive and social psychology framework. The means-end approach's main tenet is how the brand and the "self" are interpreted.

Constructs of MEC

There are three crucial constructs in these networks −

  • Attributes (A) can be either concrete (like color) or abstract (like the taste).

  • Consequences (C) is any outcome (functional or psychosocial) the product is thought to provide for the customer.

  • Values (V) can be either instrumental or terminal; instrumental values are the mental representations of preferred behavioral preferences, whereas terminal values are preferred end states of existence.

Concrete attributes, abstract attributes, and functional consequences, according to Walker and Olson, are thought to represent the consumer's knowledge of the product. In contrast, psychosocial consequence, instrumental value, and terminal value represent the consumer's knowledge of themselves.

Message Generation and Selection

According to Johar, Holbrook, and Stern (1999), advertising practitioners' innovation is frequently founded on stereotypical perceptions and cultural myths. This explains why so many advertising strategies need more creativity. The originality and relevance of the message, as perceived by the audience, may be improved if the creative efforts were more heavily based on model-based data, i.e., data that are less impacted by the peculiar interpretations of advertising practitioners than inductively generated data. The MECCAS model has much potential in this regard. According to the MECCAS model, an advertisement should−

  • Be based on the receivers' message-relevant knowledge (cognitive structure);

  • Establish or enforce a complete means-end chain in the recipients' thoughts, i.e., a cognitive chain that includes both the benefits and drawbacks of the product in addition to the receivers' values,

  • Use creative skills to build the connection strategy and the execution framework and anchor this means-end chain to the message's object (product, brand, individual, or issue).


The Meccas Model uses the same laddering means-end conceptual framework to explain advertising strategy. There are five main specification components: four strategic and one exceptional. Attributes, consequences, and values can be observed to correspond to the specification of Message Elements, Consumer Benefit, and Driving Force, respectively.

  • Message Elements − These are the precise characteristics, effects, or aspects of the product that are expressed vocally or graphically.

  • Consumer Benefits − These are the main benefits to consumers explicitly expressed in advertising, either verbally or visually.

  • Driving Force − This includes the strategy's value orientation and the target audience for advertising.

  • Leverage Point − This includes how advertising connects the physical reality of the brand to the consumer's relevance. What the advertisement "taps into" or "activates" is the value or end-level of emphasis. The Leverage Point activates the driving force or end-level of emphasis, which can be considered the personification of the brand.

    Consumers have values in their minds, and they need to be "activated" or "tapped into" by the advertising rather than being directly provided within a certain execution.

  • Executional Framework − This is used to specify how advertising will be carried out. By tightly functionally connecting the four strategic parts, the execution's purpose is to build a bridge between the brand and the consumer. Therefore, the creative devices provide the foundation for connecting the brand to the individual purpose, ultimately motivating preference and choice behavior.

    A given strategy should only be expected to communicate on some four strategic levels effectively; as a result, the dominating level or components of attention must be identified in the strategy's specification. However, after a requirement has been established, it is up to the inventive devices to offer as many closely related associates as possible.

Advantages of MECCAS

The consumer perception theory-based MECCAS framework provides marketing management with four major benefits.

  • First, by directly displaying the motivations influencing product perception and choice, MECCAS enables the precise specification of how the product will be positioned concerning the consumer.

  • Second, MECCAS gives the client, the agency, and the respective research groups a unified communications framework for discussing strategic concerns.

  • Third, the MECCAS framework offers a shared platform for discussing the competition's advertising tactics.

  • Finally, MECCAS can be used to evaluate the creative product and develop an advertising plan strategically.


The MECCAS model's strategic framework identifies a product's position and its competitors. Additionally, it does it in a conventional, tactically sound way. Even though the analysis is subjective, several deployments of the approach have demonstrated that marketing managers, marketing researchers, their agency colleagues, and agency creatives consistently create assessments that can typically be agreed upon by all parties.

One particular advantage of this methodology is that it provides a much-needed lexicon that facilitates communication between clients and agencies and between agency management and creatives because of its standard format for describing strategy and the fact that consumers supply their own words. This final idea is critical. Before the MECCAS model, there was no comprehensive paradigm for a communication strategy based on presenting the good or service regarding the consumer's relevance.

Updated on: 28-Apr-2023


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