Commercials Confuse Many Viewers

A new AdweekMedia/Harris Poll says significant numbers of viewers find TV commercials confusing at least some of the time. Older respondents to the poll, conducted in July, were especially likely to voice this complaint. Among those 55-plus, 8% said they're "very often" confused by the TV spots they see, with another 20% saying this happens "somewhat often." But young adults aren't immune, either.

 Among 18-34-year-olds, just 2% said they're "very often" confused by commercials, but another 16% feel this way "somewhat often." This put them nearly on a par with the 45-54-year-olds, among whom 4% said they're "very often" and 14% "somewhat often" confused by TV spots. Such perplexity was least common among the 35-44-year-olds: 2% "very often," 11%"somewhat often."

The same confusion happens with online advertising. According to a recent academic University of Toronto study, big targeted ads online are actually no more effective than run of the mill banner ads. Combining the effectiveness of roadblock ads with targeting may seem like a no brainer to marketers, but web surfers aren't responding as expected. The study found combining both methods actually decreases people's interest in clicking on ads.

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