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Marketers are dealing with a generation averse to advertising: Nigel Hollis, Chief Global Analyst, Millward Brown

28-March-2017
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Marketers are dealing with a generation averse to advertising: Nigel Hollis, Chief Global Analyst, Millward Brown

The recent study by Kantar Millward Brown not only provides a thorough environment scan of the year gone by (2016) but also insights and recommendations to marketers for 2017 to increase the efficacy of their advertisement campaigns across platforms.

Nigel Hollis, Chief Global Analyst at Millward Brown, shares his observations on how the global brand advertising industry been progressing and how much of it will trickle down to India or SE Asia. Here are the findings:

Increasing aversion to advertising

Every year, we do an ad reaction study focusing on different topics. So, last year was video and the year before was ‘different screens’. This year, we decided that the millennial generation has been a topic of interest for marketers for many years now and actually, we believe that they need to start thinking about Gen Z (16–19 years).

Ad reaction this year studied people in the age group of 16–19 years and looked at the differences in media behaviour; it particularly looked at their ad receptivity. We found two key things during our study: one is not so surprising but the other one is. First, the study confirmed that the younger generation is far less TV centric than the older generations like Gen X (34–45 years). Only 53 per cent of Gen Z in India actually claims to watch more than an hour of TV each day. The other key observation was that they spend much less time on Print, and since Print usage is pretty much habitual, one of the things that we can conclude is that this generation is going to follow through and their behaviour is going to remain the same.

More surprisingly, even Gen Y (25–34 years) was far more adverse than their older generations. In terms of the reaction time of skipping videos, Gen X skips within 12 seconds, while Gen Z skips within 9 seconds. Fifty-seven per cent of Gen X and 69 per cent of Gen Z said that they will skip videos if they can. So, around the world, marketers are facing the challenge of dealing with a generation averse to advertising.

TV still a powerful medium

India relatively has lower ad spend per person compared to many other parts of the world. Though it’s growing, we expect it to continue growing and there is going to be demand for more ad space. The question is: which media will be used to spend it? Advertisers know the power of TV; it’s familiar and it has got the audio and visual combination that is truly impactful. So, if you have got the budget and you are not listening to too much hype that is around Digital, you are probably going to put TV on top of the list. However, for a client who cannot afford TV, Digital or even Outdoor is a good alternative. One of the media that came through very strongly in our study for the younger audience was actually Outdoor.

2017: Year of Pause and Think

I think there is now the realization that the promise of Digital requires a lot more work than perhaps was expected. The major marketers, the ones who are doing it right, are sure that Digital is a great brand-building medium and that is the objective of this medium too. So, rather than using measurements, they are looking at whether their online or mobile advertising is creating the right perception. They are literally testing that on an on-going basis and then adjusting their media campaign on the fly to better optimize its impact on those brand metrics. I think if last year was the year of programmatic and the year before was online video, may be this year needs be the year of ‘pause and think’ and test before we invest.

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