Whenever someone mentions targeting the ‘upper SEC, younger audience’, all prominent brands come rushing to one’s mind – obviously reflecting the trend that most media communications today aim at this target group.
Keeping this trend in view, if the recently released Initiative–BBC World Ad Watch 2004 findings are observed, media players, inclusive of advertisers and planners, have some reasons to worry. The study claims that ad-avoidance attitude is most prominent among younger viewers and those representing the upper socio-economic strata.
Initiative, part of the Lintas Media Group, in association with BBC World, has released the findings of the annual survey, Initiative–BBC World Ad Watch that the duo has been conducting since the past three years.
The Initiative–BBC World Ad Watch 2004
The objective of the survey is to assess the habit of advertising avoidance across all media. The research was commissioned in India in an extension of interviews conducted across the local markets in areas like Europe, the UK, the US and other Asian markets.
The annual survey offers information on trends and provides an impact analysis on traditional and non-traditional formats of advertising. Amongst other areas, the survey also throws light on the impact of technology on ad avoidance and the relation between advertisers and shoppers.
The research is based on data collected from a sample size of 1,750 from the four metro cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. The findings give insight on details like demographics, lifestyle, consumption pattern and exposure of the sample to various media.
The research studies national, local and personal media and categorises its audience into four clusters – non-users, those who do not expose themselves across media, non–avoiders, those who do not avoid advertisements across media, avoiders – those who sometimes avoid advertisements across media and extreme avoiders – who always avoid advertisement across media.
A look at the key findings:
The study clearly establishes that only 31 per cent of the surveyed population is receptive to advertising. The worrying factor revealed in the study, says that ad avoidance is higher in upper SECs, in younger age groups and among males. As per the study, people with stressful lifestyle and late working hours are more inclined to avoid advertisements. In essence, the study establishes that segments that consciously avoid ads, in fact, fall into the key target band for majority of brands.
Giving a look into the characteristics of the avoider segment, one would find that the habit is more prominent among higher SEC, younger and male audience. The segment also features those who are heavy users of personal media, possess a negative attitude towards advertisements, socially active, enjoying high comfort-level with technology, prudent shoppers and those living a fast-paced life.
The features reiterate the fact that incidentally, for majority of brands today, this is precisely the set of people to whom all ad messages are targeted.
Taking a look at the behavioural pattern of this target group, the findings indicate that this cluster is very critical about advertising and often even shuns channels if they are heavy on advertisements. In key markets like Mumbai, the quotient of avoiders is the highest and extreme avoiders are high in cities like Delhi and Kolkata, while non-avoiders mostly come from Chennai.
The study also looks into the present market solutions to the problem. One of the prime ways that advertisers feel they can address the problem is through sponsorships. However, as per the study, this medium too is losing identity. Where 76 per cent don’t see sponsorships as different, 48 per cent don’t notice sponsorships at all.
Programme promos, however, have some solace. Fifty-two per cent prefers programme promos to advertisements and 60 per cent decides which programme to watch based on these promos. Pop-ups and screen tickers too have a chance with 60 per cent finding pop-ups innovative and 72 per cent admitting that they pay attention to screen tickers. Sixty per cent, however, believes that interactive programmes are interesting.
An interesting factor that the study clearly establishes is that while ad avoidance continues, content has not lost its credibility and that only innovation can retain its target audience.
Commenting on these findings, Lynn de Souza, Director, Media Services, Lintas Group, expresses, “Most of the advertising created is not viewed by the target audience. The Initiative–BBC World Ad Watch, 2004 establishes a trend that indicates a waning impact of ads. Some of this could be attributed to rowing exposure to new forms of media and increase in clutter in the old forms. As a consequence, more than a third of the money spent on traditional advertising is a sheer waste. This knowledge is sure to assess and contribute in being better prepared to meet the future of advertising.”