The Rs.900 crore media buying and planning giant, Initiative Media, which claims to have the maximum number of AOR''s in India, along with BBC World, BBC''s 24-hour international news and information channel, have been in the news lately for their unique comprehensive study of consumer''s attitudes towards advertising and its relevance to media.
This is the first time a study of this kind is being done in India. The effectiveness of advertising and the role media plays in actual brand purchase have always been debated. Co-relations have been drawn between advertising and media spends, advertising and use of celebrities and so on.
Says Ashish Bhasin, President, Initiative Media, "If people enjoy an advertisement, it is more likely that they will remember to act upon it. Some bad ads can lead the consumer to avoid all advertising. It is thus critical to raise the overall industry standards. While we all relate to this on a common sense level, it''s the first time in India a study has been conducted that monitors consumers'' attitudes towards advertising and media."
Partha Ghosh, Associate Vice President, Initiative Media says, "Brand advertising will have a harder role to play due to increasing clutter and media fragmentation. The greatest challenge for a media planner today is to ensure ''effective meetings'' of the brands with the consumers. To ratify this hypothesis, Initiative Media, took a significant step by commissioning this landmark study so that it becomes a benchmark for the Indian industry."
Christened, Initiative Media - BBC World ''AdWatch 2002'', this research helps to understand the synergies that arise while considering Brand Communication (Advertising) in conjunction with the Media selection. The study, which sheds light on the way qualitative factors impact recall of advertisements, especially in a marketplace noted for advertising clutter, was carried out in Mumbai and Delhi. More than 700 in depth personal interviews amongst all adults (15+ years) and across socio-economic classes were used for the research to understand the consumers'' perception towards advertising, their interpretation of ''good'' ads and its relevance to the product. Consumers were profiled on their media habits and ethnicity. This research was carried out during December 2001 - March 2002. The findings were then compared across USA, UK, Europe, and other Asian markets.
The study, which is not for sale but is exclusively available to Initiative Media clients and its key Media Partners, would help in fine-tuning their plans in line with consumers'' attitude towards communication in general and strategic media issues in particular.
The following are some of the findings of the Initiative Media-BBC World ''AdWatch 2002'' research:
- Consumers in India are as positive about advertising as those in the US and other European markets.
- In India, positive attitude towards advertising is more prevalent amongst women, middle and lower socio class.
- Mumbai consumers are comparatively more positive towards advertising than the Delhi ones.
- Mumbai consumers are more aware of an increase in advertisements
- Mumbai youngsters prefer to watch something else during breaks while elders use it as opportune moments to do other chores.
- In Delhi, positive attitude is more prevalent amongst 35-44 years,. Females and lower class.
- Females find ads humorous and creative, while their counterparts find them visually appealing and relevant.
- Asian consumers have lower ad avoidance levels.
- Consumers do sense an increase in advertising volumes, but this does not yet elicit a negative response.
- Upper and middle class are more affected by ''too many ads'' than lower socio class.
- Females as well as elders use ad breaks as an opportune moment to do other chores.
- Visual appeal, humour and creativity encourage Mumbaites to watch ads. In Delhi, it''s primarily due to creativity, relevance and music.
- Print ads appear more boring, uncreative and irrelevant.
- Ad avoidance is starting in India too. The level of ad avoidance is quite low as yet, across all media, except Internet.
- Correlation does exist between behaviour and attitude. The more a consumer likes an ad, the less he/she avoids it.
- Some bad ads can lead consumers to avoid all advertising.
- Consumers in Asia describe good advertising in simple terms : Fresh, Entertaining, Tells a story, Respects their intelligence, Relevant (character, brand)