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back to article No one watches TV, Nielsen, and you know it

Even in the modern world where there is more pay TV, there are few, if any, sources of professional video where consumers can know that they will encounter little or no advertising. Pay TV networks such as Comcast, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable in the US – and Sky and Liberty Global in Europe – all carry the advertising which is …

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Agreed about the linear TV watching part. But I'm missing on what causes this; namely those same commercials which people claim are so important.

I see it happening when my gf watches a movie on TV... She continues to watch until the first commercial break, then goes off to do other stuff (toilet visit, maybe getting a cup of coffee, asking me if I really don't feel like watching, sitting behind her PC for a moment) and before you know it the movie continues while she's busy doing other stuff. Sure; she checked every now and then if the commercials are over; but with blocks which sometimes last 5 minutes, what else would you expect could happen ?

Or what I personally do often enough: zap to another channel. Sometimes I fall into some other program and if it manages to catch my attention I'm watching that one, often flipping back eventually but occasionally also forgetting all about the original.

And the best option: HDD recorder. The moment the commercials start you simply skip 30 seconds by the press of a button. You'll be through in no time.

The power of advertising is majorly overhyped. I still recall a butter brand in Holland which had been bought by a bigger company who wanted to EOL it. As such they stopped advertising for the product, only to end up surprised because after half a year the market share of this product had increased instead of declined. Without any advertising what so ever.

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Unhappy

Wish I could upvote +1000

I've seen this so many times. I've talked about various important plot-points with friends, only to hear "oh, I switched from a commercial, I think I missed that"

OTOH, Pirate Bay is my DVR...

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Go

What about those of us that simply go blank.....

Actually I gave my TV away... after the last floods... sitting at the table waist deep, eating my dinner with the house hold power supply coming in above the water line....

"Flooding, flooding, everywhere - all over Australia, TIME FOR AN ADD BREAK, "Flooding, flooding, everywhere - all over Australia" 24 / 7 for about 2 weeks...

How much I would have loved to have just watched some old B&W episodes of Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men...

But the stupidity never ends....

The whole premis of Free to Air is a farce in the first place. Assuming I watch 20 hours of TV a week, at least in Australia, it seems to be that 10 hours of that 20, is going to be ADDS...

Well that leaves 10 hours of documentaries and movies and usual bullshit. So assuming that I was able to get say 5 decent hours of viewing from the 20 hours, that comes to say 3 movies documentaries, that I could have downloaded or hired from the video shop, for like $6.

The other 15 hours, that I could have spent, having sex, doing my book work, university courses etc... and or earning an income, really means that I am trading off say $6 of expense, to have 15 hours of productive time wasted, 10 of which are total shit - in the form of advertising - almost totally for things I don't want, need, or can afford.....

And as far as actually shopping - either in person, the junk mail handles that with all the specials on at the local super markets, and other gear gets handled by the online shopping that can be done at an average of about 4 hours per week, for things that I DO need.

So I can actually switch off the TV, hire or download the content that is revelvant and read the flyers in the letter box, and then spend the other 10 hours a week earning an income or studying courses etc..

Or spending it with the family and friends, in the garden, the forrest, in the shed, community groups etc.. doing things TOGETHER, rather than being retards who accept being spoon fed bullshit 24/7.

As a follow up on this, I also suffer from just going blank when adds are on... like mentally switch off...

It's good, but can be a pain on the phone when being fed options by robots..... "If you want to do blah blah blah, press 1, If you want to do blah blah blah, press 2, etc....." These days - 5 seconds of that and I don't even hear any of it.... - I completely switch off.

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Go

We do the same except we press "pause" on the TV. It has a USB pen that happily PVRs, then we come back, fast forward and either catch up to the program or exit the adverts.

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I'm lost. The more immersive and engaging the show, the more likely any knowledgable viewer is to take action to avoid it being interrupted by advertising, like pre-recording it and skipping the ads.

There are a staggering number of fallacious premises in this whole area. Nowadays, measuring program viewing numbers gives absolutely no indication of ad penetration, if it ever did. The only really important measure is whether sales, or at least brand recognition, goes up as a result of advertising or down as a result of not advertising. This is rarely measured because it is hard to do, and anyway in most cases the results almost certainly wouldn't show anything the advertising companies would want their customers to know.

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Pirate

Couldn't agree more

An example from Down Under: Top Gear is shown here on a commercial channel. In the UK each episode runs for a full hour and often a few minutes over. The Aussie broadcaster hacks it down to 35 minutes of content and fills the other 25 minutes with commercials (usually the same ones repeated every ten minutes*).

Given the choice of watching that or a dodgy download of the full fat BBC version it'd be a fool that chooses the former.

* This should be added to the torture section of the Geneva Conventions.

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Stop

Re: Couldn't agree more

Not just you guys... BBC America used to do that too, until there was a huge bitching about it, since TG fans here are rather rabid. Now they show TG *PLUS* the half hour of shitty ads, so it takes a 90 minute slot. Sigh.

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Re: Couldn't agree more

Absolutely agree - to go off on a tangent a bit, I believe this is what helped kill Top Gear Australia -a new show, that viewers were used to seeing in a 1 hour no-ads format, crushed into a 1 hour slot on commercial TV meant that viewers flicked away from the station at the first ad break and never looked back. Particularly when the station it was broadcast on is known for pumping huge amount of ads into a 1 hour slot.

Personally I prefer what SBS (used to) do - still have ads, but relegate them to a longer block every 30 mins. Probably doesn't have the same revenue raising prowess but I actually found myself *less* likely to switch channels, since I knew it'd be the only break (although I did use it for toilet breaks, checking the pc, making a sandwich, etc, I was always within earshot of the TV and usually in the same room. Except for the toilet breaks obviously.).

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Re: Couldn't agree more

What? you actually get off the couch to go take a shit?

But what about the add's your missing?

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And even if you do remember a particular commercial because it was cute or well done,

does the Suzy's Lemonade commercial actually help the vendor when you can't recall what product, let alone brand, it was actually intended to pitch?

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Big Brother

Content

Loads of people WOULD watch more TV if there was decent content.

But UK & Irish is sinking to be like US TV cable 30 years ago, esp. US daytime TV. It's aimed at a lowest common denominator of poorly educated person comatose on the sofa watching it because it's more effort to do something else.

Will Advertising and the chasing of "ratings" and Broadcasters concentrating on VOD of old content and hbbTV instead of actual compelling Broadcast content kill Radio & TV as we used to know it in UK when Ch4 had only started in Nov 1982? Maybe.

Is fragmentation and niche channels killing TV & Radio? Certainly 40 to 800 Channels is far too many. TV would arguably be better if there was 10 channels. Arguably VOD and Internet TV can't economically or sensibly replace Main Popular Broadcast (or shouldn't). But Channels with 0.1% and less viewers (most of them on Satellite & Cable) are better off and better suited to Internet. That's what Internet on TVs should be used for, not more BBC/ITV/C4 content diluting those channels. They need to concentrate on decent in house content production. Contracting out and Purchasing In "foreign" off the shelf stuff destroys our culture and the Ethos & Character of the broadcasters.

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Re: Content

Very little of what's broadcast is time sensitive.. news and sport, and maybe eurovision. Linear TV is expensive to produce (requires satellites, or terrestrial broadcast networks), requires all sorts of scheduling (one programme at a time, fixed slots of 30/45/60 minutes) and ends up being pretty inconvenient a lot of the time.. so everyone uses DVRs, and skips the ads. That can replaced completely with internet VOD and live streaming (something that I think Sky are realising with their 'Now TV' idea.. if that actually happens).

Advertisers are going to have to be smarter. Arguably that boat has already sailed - when I first got Tivo 10 years ago they pretty much lost that route to my eyeballs. 10 years later everyone has DVRs of some sort and the number of ads actually viewed must be a tiny fraction of what it was.

These days I view TV entirely via Roku and iplayer, so never see itv/c4/c5 programmes (or their adverts). Plex fills in the gaps - again no adverts. In fact thinking about it the only ads I see these days are on billboards - advertisers have completely lost contact with the likes of me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Content

I often use 4od, Iplayer and channel5online. both the commercial channels have un-skipable commercials and I find that I am more likely to pay attention than when on tv since I am going to be watching when I want to watch.

so advertising is better for online media I think.

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Holmes

Re: Content

Last time I ripped a 4oD stream using rtmpdump, there were no adverts in it! Looks as though the Flash client is inserting advertisements from a separate, unencrypted stream (I guess they don't mind you leeching on the adverts). At any rate, I was able just to use ffmpeg to convert the flv to MPEG2 ready for burning to DVD.

Sherlock, because seeing if it is still like this might be a three-pipe problem.

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FAIL

Everyone watches tv .. the problem is with fake stats !

Like Nielsen and other similar stats companies worldwide. They use a tiny sample that no interpolation/extrapolation algorithm could ever manage to improve resolution of. Nielsen in the US uses a 0.04% sample size of the real population and the numbers given by their families sample are not even true but tampered with at the source. Then they manage to tamper with even more to please highest paying tv networks managers at will...

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Re: Everyone watches tv .. the problem is with fake stats !

There's one right there. I haven't had a TV for 40 years now. I tend to get together with others who are the same, and I can tell you that there are lots of us in this parallel universe. I suspect that we are invisible to those on the other side.

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Boffin

Re: Everyone watches tv .. the problem is with fake stats !

You might want to read up on stratified sampling before posting any more rubbish. That sample size is an order of magnitude bigger than the exit polls that can predict election results to (usually) within a fraction of a %.

And while it's not impossible that Nielsen would take a well-established, highly profitable business model and risk throwing it all away for a back-hander - I think it's rather unlikely.

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Re: Everyone watches tv .. the problem is with fake stats !

Our household actually was selected as a Nielsen house quite some time ago. No DVRs at the time, but we had VCRs attached to every tv in the house. No books to fill out, no written surveys, just a phone line back to Nielsen HQ that reported the data: what the channel was, whether it was TV or VCR. The only way for us to manipulate the stats was to watch a program. I was actually pretty happy about it, because the shows we tend to watch were always getting canceled. Unfortunately we moved, and when we moved, the reporting equipment didn't go with us to the new place. Nielsen was very strict with their rules for the survey and since we were no longer in the region they were sampling, we were removed from the survey.

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Windows

Bit like AdBlock for websites

Now it's so easy to record a programme and watch it when I have time, I rarely do adverts.

Having said that, if I do watch live telly, when I'm flipping channels when the adverts begin, I've noticed that all channels seem to do adverts at the same time!

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Re: Bit like AdBlock for websites

Well, yeah. Television is a very convention-bound format. It's almost always broken up into blocks of one hour or half an hour in length, and the timing of commercials within those blocks is also established by convention. Any program which wants to time things differently has to actively argue for it.

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Re: When channels show ads

I've noticed that all channels seem to do adverts at the same time

Ever since there has been commercial television this has been known as "the chicken race": the first channel to launch the break is going to lose the greatest number of viewers. This behaviour is well-understood and measurable unlike most of what the article covers.

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The only thing worth measuring...

Is the effectiveness of the adverts. If you make unique adverts (the late night ones usually have a different telephone number or some such) one can judge the penetration of what you are offering. To a company that DOES advertising this is the only thing that really counts. The program content is secondary. Unfortunately the rating people concentrate on the program content, and assume that the commercials will be watched.

Thankfully on the Internet, you have 'click-thru' to see what works, and charge appropriately.

Bottom Line: If you are selling ad space, measure THAT.

p.s. I'm over 60 and actually have a DVR. My wife uses it to skip over commercials and repeat program content (between yelling at the politics on the TV. For me, I just do things like bring up this page during commercials. Go figure!

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Anonymous Coward

PVR and fast forward, never watch in real time

What ads?

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Headmaster

Re: "What ads?"

I think that you have just summed up what is terrifying the entire industry. They are beginning to believe that almost nobody is watching those ads. If that is indeed the case then a more classic example of the emperor's lack of any connection to sartorial reality would be hard to find.

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Pint

Advert Free TV

I subscribe to BT Vision because their on demand services are ad free. I will only pay for a service that is ad free, which is the reason I have never subscribed to Sky.

I always PVR TV as I hate watching ads. It's a shame really, as many of them are very entertaining. I guess the worst thing about ads is their repetition.

But ad breaks do serve a useful purpose, they are usually at the end of a "chapter" so as not to be too jarring and they give folk left in the room some entertainment whilst others do the ubiquitous TV watching necessities of visiting the toilet, putting the kettle on, getting another beer, etc. Often we fast forward ads and then hit pause until we're all back in the room. Perhaps someday these pauses will get auto-filled with ads.

Maybe they should have skippable VOD ads with YouTube like ratings - which will give the content provider data on viewing figures and possibly reward viewers by giving them options about how often they see different ads and letting them never see the bad ones ever again.

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Pirate

Re: Advert Free TV

"ad breaks do serve a useful purpose, they are usually at the end of a "chapter" so as not to be too jarring"

Oh how I wish! In Oz, commercials (especially on Channels 7 & 9) can turn up anywhere; in the middle of a sentence, halfway through a car chase, wherever.

Add to that the tendency of both channels to give you a 5 or 10 minute Sports or News Update (complete with commercials either side, of course), and any hope of the viewer retaining that sense of involvement the director has worked so hard to create is out the window.

Thank doG for PVR and IsoHunt!

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Re: Advert Free TV

I watched the recent comedy gala on Channel 4 where Jimmy & Alan Carr* had remade or edited some of the adverts. This was quite possibly the first time in a decade where I'd actively sat through the ads just to see what comic potential those two had found in them.

There are still plenty of good ads made but to keep us involved they must be clever and amusing. I'm sure that those wonderful'refreshes the parts' Heinekin and 'Happiness is...' Hamlet ads still stir a few memories.

*this was a few months ago before Jimmy became the pariah poster boy for tax evasion.

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FAIL

People watch the programmes, not the adverts

Has it escaped their notice that audiences are watching the shows, then tweeting about them during the breaks instead of watching the adverts? Measuring the success of advertisements by the number of people watching the programmes is is akin to measuring the success of pest control by the amount of cheese taken from mousetraps, as opposed to by the number of mice caught.

With Sky Plus, I watch till the first advert break; then I hit pause and make a brew, take a leak, feed the cat, load up the washing machine, skin up, check Twitter, make a sandwich or whatever. By which time the show has restarted, and I need only fast-forward through the adverts. You can even get tellies nowadays that accept a USB stick or SD card and offer the same pause, rewind and fast-forward functionality on the basic Freeview channels.

But even before the advent of such technological marvels, it was common practice to leave the room for advert breaks.

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Re: People watch the programmes, not the adverts

Actually, if I'm at a friends house and they have a TV, I love watching the adverts.

They never make me buy anything, but I'm always interested to see the line of bullshit made up by advertisers.

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Anonymous Coward

Biased samples

The Nielson sample set has a built-in bias against:

People who insist upon their privacy (e.g.: I was a Nielson "family" several times, happily reporting what I watched to help the shows I like out. Then Nielson wanted me to report on what I bought, where I shopped, etc. Guess what: I am no longer a Nielson family)

People who screen their calls and don't answer unknown numbers.

People who toss out junk mail.

Granted, this may be like the 419 scammers who make no effort to be subtle, so that they screen out people who are not clueless - it may be that Nielson doesn't care about the bias because it selects against people who don't "consume" advertising anyway.

The fundamental flaw in the whole advertising system is that advertisers cannot wrap their tiny little minds around the fact that they are unwanted and uninvited guests at the party: we, the viewers, allow the program into our lives, and the program says "Yeah, is it OK if these ads come to? - they're my ride, man." We grudgingly allow the ads in, and the ads proceed to be loud and obnoxious, eat all the party mix, drink all the booze, throw up on the floor, insult everybody, and generally ruin the party.

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Devil

Re: Biased samples

I was thinking the same thing. I often wondered why "Reality" shows are so pervasive now, and you pretty much summed it up, Nielson families that follow those rules are stupid. Obviously not you, because you stopped, but those that continue clearly are different from the average person.

It's sad too, because stupid people tend to watch all manner of programming not suitable for dogs. Great shows like Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Profit, Middle Man, even Veronica Mars will always fail against shows like "Dancing with the network Has-beens", "Ouch, my balls!", or "Who wants to be made fun of for money" in the eyes of a moron that can't follow a plot line, let alone one split by a commercial. The networks love it because it's a lot cheaper to make an episode of "Things on Fire!" than it is to make a scripted show.

We need a huge company like Google to create an IPTV service that they control the content of. Something along the lines of On-demand, commercial-free, $20 a month, customer voted shows. If they had 500 million users world-wide that would be 10 billion dollars a month to make or buy anything it's customers could ever want, commercial free, and because they are buying/making the content, there would be no reason for region restrictions. And because there would be no TV commercials, soap and soda companies' advertizing budgets could now go towards funding failing newspapers and magazines. With that kind of money a month, there is no reason they couldn't use some of it to throw some new fiber in the ground here or there.

We're waiting Google.

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Anonymous Coward

Product placement

That's why product placement keeps growing.

It's integrated, though barely disguised, and it's short so it's hard to skip. Of course, there are limitations on what you can sell that way, so cars and computers feature prominently.

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Re: Product placement

It's not so much that it's short as much as it involves one or more key characters in that part of the show. You can't ignore the product placement without ignoring the character--and as a result, missing the plot. Even some video games have gotten into the act. Not fictional products that are in there for environment or for laughs, but ads for real-life products. The worst ones are the ones where you get nailed if you ignore them because they're actually obstacles or even traps.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Product placement

I've always quite liked decent product placement, character drinks a particular brand of cola, drives a certain kind of car, uses a certain kind of laptop. Subconsciously I'm going "Hey I drink that brand of cola, I can relate to this guy, and I quite like his car... good taste in laptops, hey was that that brand of that thing over there, I have that!" However it shouldn't be obvious, he shouldn't be drinking a can of cola every 5 minutes going "jee this cola tastes great... you should get some" *wink wink*

Where as when the ads are on it's channel surfing time! The numbers of times I've missed half a show due to that.

As to the games things, if it's a modern day setting it's fine again, but then most games where it would work the companies likely wouldn't be too keen (like GTA) though I'm not actually sure they can stop you if you want to include it...

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Re: Product placement

As I watch films these days I play 'spot the sponsor' - If you see a brand in a film it's never there by accident.. they paid for it. No matter how small a part it plays.

Sometimes it's comical - eg. when a Virgin Airlines plane slowly taxied past the camera for about 30 seconds (a bond film IIRC). Other times it's more subtle.. a particular brand of phone, or watch, being used.

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Coat

Re: Product placement

The classic I always remember is that scene from The Matrix with a... Motorola was it? Floating serenely in the breeze right in front of the camera for nearly 15 seconds before suddenly whipping away into the distance. Similarly in the H2G2 film with that Nokia buzzing away in space right before Journey of the Sorcerer began to play.

There's product placement, and then there's that. You have to laugh...

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@ Graham Dawson Re: Product placement

My personal favourite piece of product placement is in Total Recall, when Richter and his goons are tracking down Arnie through the subway, on the Johnnycab and into the abandoned factory. Arnie has a bug in his head which broadcasts his location, and the portable tracking monitor used by Richter's sidekick to follow it is very clearly made by Casio.

I always thought that was a funny piece of product placement, as if Casio wanted be known for making Big-Brotherish spying and tracking gadgets at a time when they were more famous for watches, calculators and portable synthesisers. That such a gadget was ostensibly made and marketed by a mass-market consumer-electronics company like Casio, instead of a defence contractor for example, suggested to me that the use of such devices was widespread in the era depicted in the movie, and I imagined that there might be hundreds of people in the crowds walking around with Casio spy-bugs up their noses.

Which leads me to the humourous aspect of this particular piece of product placment: that Casio was depicted as the manufacturer of tracking gadgets of such utter cheap-crappiness that they could be defeated by simply wrapping a wet towel around your head!

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This article is mental

The author must be sick!

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Meh

Measuring

As much as TV advertising annoys me it is truly effective, especially for new products or sales.

I was involved at a major retailer several years ago & you could hear the ad guys cheer when one day after running a new commercial they saw double digit increases in sales and single digit increases of other stuff in the store. It happened all the time, generating millions a week in targeted sales. Kinda hard to argue with that kind of performance.

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Windows

Re: Measuring

@Don Jefe

Do your former colleagues still find themselves cheering?

The times are achangin'

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Meh

Re: Measuring

Yes, I reckon they do. Single line phone, Internet and cable services have drastically increased the value of adverts (at least in the States). The El Reg readership is not a good sample of the average Joe. I block most online ads and I haven't had cable TV in more than a decade. I expect many of this site's readers are the same.

It is sad that running a 20 second spot on TV for a new Palmolive dish soap that has Oil of Olay mixed in can generate quarterly sales of millions of dollars just by itself, but that's the world we live in. It's not getting better for the general public, they're just buying more brand name "stuff" instead of cars and houses now. Oh well: "Lift a pint" was the smartest thing I've heard on here in a while.

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Silver badge

There was a simple solution in Germany

When the second TV channel in Germany came on, it had commercials during a few hours of the day. In order to get people to watch them. They put little animated clips in between the commercials. Those were about some little creatures called the "Mainzelmännchen" and gained a cult following.

This concept was used by many stations. Here's an example of the Bavarian regional window of the first channel, "Das Erste".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmbTjNb12nk

Another way was to make a little game. If you send in the brands advertised in the right order you have the chance of winning a price.

Or one could go the British way of simply making _decent_ television and _decent_ commercials. If you complain about British television, I dare you to watch German television for a week!

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Re: There was a simple solution in Germany

German TV much better than Italian TV though.

Unless you like inane game shows.

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Happy

Re: There was a simple solution in Germany

Mexican game shows are the best though. I have no idea why that's entertainment but I love it! Japanese shows were good for a while but they've become too Westernized. The Mexicans just don't give a toss though. Insanity, loud noises and busty women. Good TV!

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Simple strategy

Buy some advertising, then look for an increase in sales. If the sales do not increase, you are spending money on the wrong adverts.

For TV adverts to stand a chance, the brief flicker of advert that appears before I press step forward again must be really interesting. The advert has to explain what is being sold, where and for how much without any sound. Finally the really difficult bit - sell a product that I want to buy.

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Re: Simple strategy

Ohh that's already been tried. It's called Blipvert. However it can cause an overload of the neural system.

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Re: Simple strategy

Cool, a Max Headroom ref.

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"Adverts are not only here to stay, but they are proliferating, and form a bedrock of revenue that prevents consumers from bearing the full financial cost of content creation."

Surely this should read "and form a bedrock of revenue that maximises profit from the consumer."

Or else the BBC are doing it wrong, not that I suffer TV adverts personally. There is more than adequate technology available to avoid them when watching the few programs I want to see.

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Curious...

I have often ranted as to the total bollocks basis for advertising on this site and inevitably get downvoted by (presumably) ad industry based shills.

All advertising is bollocks. i have _never_ clicked a net ad. and do not base my meat-space purchasing decisions on how cute the kitten/puppy/small child/meerekat are in the ad.

so i guess my question is, where are all the advertising <ahem> professionals now?

(id like to thing they were running round in circles exclaiming that the emperor is naked, but some how i doubt it)

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FAIL

Re: Curious...

Well, no, they're not, because your points are weak and well-known.

So you, personally, have never clicked an ad? Good for you. What does that prove? Advertisers don't need _everyone_ to click an ad. They just need some people to click them. Your assertion that you never have really doesn't mean anything, unless it can someone be proven that, because you never click an ad, no-one anywhere ever clicked an ad.

It is also a common thing for an anti-advertising person to avow that they 'do not base my meat-space purchasing decisions on how cute the kitten/puppy/small child/meerekat are in the ad'. The advertising industry's response to this is twofold.

1) How do you know? You say you don't, but why should anyone trust you? People are spectacularly poor reporters both of the facts of their own actions and the motivations behind them. You _say_ you don't base purchasing decisions on advertising. You may truly believe this to be the case. Neither of those things mean it actually _is_ the case. The advertising industry is of the general opinion that people certainly do base purchasing decisions on ads, then either lie to themselves about it or simply don't notice.

2) Advertising isn't as simple a system as 'we show you a picture of product, you go out and buy product'. Advertisers know this. They haven't worked on that basis for decades, centuries. Their position is that advertising works on less obvious levels. There are many of these.

The classic illustration of this is to ask someone, quick, to name a company in a field they don't _usually_ think about or buy products in. The answer they come up with is very likely to be determined by advertising. Say, mobile phone recycling; it's not something you do every day. Probably most people have never done it. But when some people finally decide they _are_ going to get rid of their cellphone and try and get some money for it, they're overwhelmingly going to pick one of the companies that advertises on TV all the damn time. Why? Because they've heard of the company. Even if the ad was crap, it served it's purpose - to announce the existence of the company. Especially when what the company is selling is a straightforward product or service which isn't likely to differ much between vendors, advertising can be crucial, because the advertised-to don't have any reason to carefully research the companies available and pick the 'best' one. This means they have no incentive to even discover companies that don't advertise. They're just going to pick the first one they remember, which is likely one they've seen advertised.

Another purpose, say you really like marmite. You eat it all the time. Then for whatever reason you start putting jam on your toast instead. Then a few months later you see a commercial for marmite. You may well start eating marmite on your toast a bit more often. The ad hasn't sold you on something you didn't have any previous experience with; you already knew you liked marmite. But it gives you a little reminder of its existence.

There's dozens of these. Hell, there's hundreds of books full of discussions of the effectiveness or otherwise of advertising. There's all sorts of interesting debates to be had on the topic. But you have to do a lot better than 'I never pay any attention to ads, therefore ads are ineffective'. That argument isn't even worth the price of admission.

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