STRATA, the self-proclaimed "leader in media buying and selling software," sent out a release noting that about a third of consumers say online video ads are more irritating than TV ads. This "online
survey of 675 adults that watch online videos or TV programming online" (no disclosure on the response rate) also found that nearly half of those asked, found both TV and online video ads
Though I didn't look very hard, I strongly suspect that STRATA sells a solution that somehow makes video ads less "annoying" (better targeting?). Otherwise
this survey, also picked up by the Wall Street
, is yet another astounding glimpse into the obvious. In the long and storied history of advertising, has anyone ever, ever fielded a study where consumers said they in fact liked
commercials or any other kind of marketing (other than Super Bowl ad rankings, which in truth are just a ranking from less to more annoying)? While indeed a percentage of the populace would
say they "love" this individual ad or that one (at least before they have seen it for the 12th time, when their affection has waned considerably), the persistent default response to being asked is
that Americans hate advertising.
In any given poll, Americans also hate lobbyists, Congressional representatives, car salesmen, lawyers and business executives. And journalists. And admen
(Don Draper aside). That this is news on any given day is a mystery to me.
There is a reason Americans embrace any and all technology to help them avoid or fast-forward through ads: because
they are intrusive, disruptive, often not interesting and repetitive. Not to mention poorly targeted and, too often, irrelevant. So ads are basically a total waste of time for the brands behind
U.S. advertisers spend north of $170 billion on paid media each year. That doesn't count what it costs to produce the ads, which for a single TV spot can run from five figures
to seven in a hurry. This gigantic economic sector would not exist if, in some way, somehow, Americans were overcoming their default hatred of advertising and responding to it. But don't bother asking
them. Not only do they hate advertising, they are loath to say it influences their purchase decisions. Which is bullshit, but what are you going to do?
Maybe Wanamaker didn't know which
half of his advertising was wasted, but these days brands are doing almost everything possible to assure their ads hit home and drive sales. They test creative ideas, optimize their media and creative
units for best response. They have reams of data detailing nearly every aspect of when, where, why and how their ads make an impact. That brands still approve profoundly off-base creative and allow
their agencies to make inefficient media buys and turn a blind eye to things like bot-drive impression fraud, is a whole 'nother story.
It does not take too many instances of ads that make
spurious claims, that have questionable imagery or copy, or run in absolutely the wrong context, or try to camouflage themselves among editorial content, to give folks additional reasons to hate
advertising. They already have enough. Let's not give them more.