When ads re­ally work

Finweek English Edition - - Advertising & marketing -

SOME PEO­PLE are re­cep­tive and open to ad­ver­tis­ing, some cyn­i­cal or even hos­tile. Not sur­pris­ingly, ads work best among the re­cep­tive and open group. But how can you make this knowl­edge work for you, the ad­ver­tiser?

“For ad­ver­tis­ing to work, the tar­get au­di­ence must at the very least be re­cep­tive to the idea of ad­ver­tis­ing, ac­cept­ing its value as an in­for­ma­tion source and agree­ing that ad­ver­tis­ing has a role to play in com­mu­ni­cat­ing brand news,” says Bar­bara Cooke, who rep­re­sents TGI, the in­ter­na­tional re­search com­pany, in SA. “Un­der­stand­ing con­sumer re­ac­tions helps the ad­ver­tiser to make the most of his ad­ver­tis­ing.”

A seg­men­ta­tion de­vel­oped by TGI di­vides the pop­u­la­tion into three roughly equal­sized groups on the ba­sis of their at­ti­tudes to ad­ver­tis­ing: very re­cep­tive, mod­er­ately re­cep­tive and hos­tile/cyn­i­cal.

You’re bet­ter off if your tar­get mar­ket is re­cep­tive to ad­ver­tis­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion than if it’s cyn­i­cal. “In gen­eral terms we’ve found that white adults and Asians are likely to be more cyn­i­cal than blacks or coloureds,” says Cooke.

Peo­ple who are re­cep­tive to ad­ver­tis­ing agree with state­ments such as “I ex­pect ad­ver­tis­ing to be en­ter­tain­ing” and “ad­ver­tis­ing helps me choose what to buy”. View­ers also agree that they en­joy the ad­verts as much as the TV pro­grammes.

The ad-cyn­ics, on the other hand, feel a lot of TV ad­ver­tis­ing is de­vi­ous, still in­clined to be racist and pa­tro­n­ises women. They also tend to say things such as: “Ad­ver­tis­ing only gen­er­ates su­per­flu­ous needs” and it’s “a waste of my time” and “nearly all TV ad­ver­tis­ing an­noys me”.

Those seg­ments can be used as a ty­pol­ogy to de­scribe the ad­ver­tis­ing re­cep­tiv­ity of any of the 7 000 brands listed in our sur­vey.

Each type of au­di­ence “in­ter­acts dif­fer­ently with me­dia and with ad­ver­tis­ing, and it’s vi­tal to un­der­stand con­sumer re­ac­tions in or­der to make the most of your ad­ver­tis­ing,” says Cooke.

“Some­times a brand’s users fall into more than one seg­ment. Which group to pri­ori­tise can markedly af­fect me­dia de­ci­sions. Even if you tar­get more than one group, dif­fer­ent strate­gies and ex­e­cu­tional plans would have to be de­vel­oped. For while they dif­fer in ad re­cep­tiv­ity, they also con­sume dif­fer­ent me­dia.”

Ad re­cep­tiv­ity varies with age: the older you are, the less re­cep­tive to ad­ver­tis­ing. Fe­males are likely to be more re­spon­sive than males. Blacks use ad­ver­tis­ing for in­for­ma­tion and intelligence con­cern­ing brands to a greater ex­tent than do whites, who tend to be more cyn­i­cal about ad­ver­tis­ing mes­sages.

“Con­sumers who are very re­spon­sive to ad­ver­tis­ing are also more likely to be heavy con­sumers of TV and ra­dio,” says Cooke. “With TV, the more you watch, the more re­cep­tive you are to the ads.”

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