Tell me God What This Ad is Trying to Do

Confusing and disturbing ads have become headache for most consumers. That’s what a poll reveals. Even when a commercial on television ends, there is still uncertainty about exactly what product or service that commercial was selling.

Three-quarters of Americans (75%) say they have found a commercial on TV confusing. One in five (21%) often find commercials on television confusing while 55% say they find commercials confusing not very often.

 Just 14% say they never find commercials on television confusing and 11% do not watch commercials on TV.

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These are some of the findings of a new Adweek Media/ Harris Poll, survey of 2,163 U.S. adults surveyed online between July 27 and 29, 2010 by Harris Interactive. The results were released last week.

The survey found age plays a small role in how confusing these commercials appear to people. Three in ten people 55 years or older (29%) say they often find the commercials on television confusing.

The number drops for younger Americans as 17% of those 45-54 year old often find commercials confusing as do 18% of those 18 – 34 years old and 13% of those 35- 44.

Those 55 and older are also less likely to say they never find commercials confusing (10%) and more likely to say they do not watch commercials on television (13%).

Are marketers trying to hit a more educated audience? If so, it is still not working, says the poll.

Looking at levels of confusion by education there still is not much of a difference. Three-quarters of those who have an education level of high school or less (75%), those who have some college education (76%) and those who have a college degree or post graduate education (76%) say they have found commercials on TV to be confusing.

And, one in five with an education level of high school or less (21%), those who have completed some college (22%) and college graduates (19%) often find commercials on television to be confusing.

These are not only TV ads that are considered bad, online ads are worse, according to consumers. They feel that online ads are annoying and ill-constructed while TV and print advertising is more entertaining and relevant for them.

Of more than 1,200 people surveyed for digital marketing show ad:tech London by Zussi Research, 69 per cent believed traditional advertising was relevant to them, compared with 45 per cent for online.

For the TV generation of those aged between 25-34-years old the gap widens further: 81 per cent (traditional) versus 53 per cent (online).

Worse still for digital marketers, annoyance around advertising on the web is twice as high online as offline, the survey indicates.

Comments made were that digital advertising is “ill-structured”, “mainly irrelevant” and represents a bigger, unwanted distraction for the consumer, rather than a subtle influence.

Typical comments included: “Traditional advertising is less in your face – online seems to use all kinds of annoying tricks to make you view them, e.g., popups and blank screen links you click by accident. It’s an immediate turn-off.” (Read: Why Web Users Hate Online Ads)

The ad:tech London 2010 was scheduled to be held at Olympia National, London, 21-22 September 2010.

Photo courtesy: ad:tech

RMN News

Rakesh Raman