How Should You Take TV Advertising Clutter Into Account?
by Millward Brown
The level of TV advertising clutter varies greatly by country, and the amount of clutter affects the ability of ads to cut through. The natural response to clutter is to increase the spend behind your ad, but that money might be wasted if thought is not given to how the spend is phased.
Despite the explosion in multimedia activity, TV is still the main brand-building medium for big advertisers in most markets. But the amount of TV advertising in different markets varies dramatically. Ad clutter is twice as high in the Philippines as it is in Hong Kong, and twice as high in Hong Kong as in Ireland.Reduced ad impact
Advertising clutter – the sheer volume of advertising that consumers encounter every day – makes it hard for any individual ad to achieve its most fundamental goal, which is to be noticed.
Research by Millward Brown and others has highlighted the importance of achieving and maintaining a share of voice within your category that is at least equal to your market share. But the total amount of advertising within a country – the overall level of clutter - must also be considered.
The more ads there are vying for a viewer’s attention, the harder it is for each advertisement to get its message across. This is apparent from the relationship we’ve observed between ad clutter and the Awareness Index (AI). The AI is our measure of “ad impact,” and it describes the increase in advertising awareness per hundred GRPs, after accounting for effects due to media weight, diminishing returns, and advertising history. For each of the markets where we had both ad clutter information (from Eurodata, Zenith Market and Media Facts) and reliable audience measurement data, we conducted an analysis of the average response per Gross Rating Point (GRP) in terms of advertising impact. Based on the scores across a range of different advertisers, an average for each country was calculated. To aid comparison, the level of clutter was then indexed back to the average of all these countries.
The finding is clear; more ads on air means reduced ad impact. This is probably due to a combination of factors. For example, consumers may leave the room during long ad breaks, or engage in other activity that makes them less likely to see or remember the ads.