TV Ads and 'Competitive Clutter'

  • by November 29, 2000
By Anya Khait

How important is it to avoid clutter when planning your TV campaigns? Very important. How about competitive clutter? Invaluable.

Competitive clutter is defined as commercials in the same category airing at or near the same time as one another, and is the subject of the latest Empower MediaMarketing (EM2) analysis of Nielsen Monitor Plus data across three television day parts.

"Research has shown that advertising recall is reduced when an advertiser's commercial runs near that of a competitor," said Julie Pahutski, senior VP/partner and media research analyst for EM2.

She said EM2 undertook its competitive clutter analysis to serve as a benchmark because the media and marketing company believes the issue is going to become more important to advertisers in coming years.

Pahutski said, "As the media world fragments, there are more opportunities to reach a narrowly defined target audience. This will result in even more competitive clutter as companies in the same categories are attracted to the same highly targeted media vehicles because of their ability to reach the desired consumer. Creative excellence and unusual media solutions will become even more important in the future for advertisers to stand out."

Pahutski said the analysis demonstrates one clear example of the challenges presented by competitive clutter. "In the broadcast day parts we examined, it is clear that pharmaceutical marketers, in particular, have a heightened need for break-out advertising strategies. The pharmaceutical category is, by far, the most cluttered."

EM2's analysis of Q1-Q3 2000 broadcast and cable television data examined top advertisers in three standard network day parts: early morning, daytime and evening news. Networks examined were ABC, CBS and NBC on the broadcast side, and cable networks USA, TBS and Lifetime. Pahutski said the cable networks were included for comparative purposes.

MediaPost Staff Writer Anya Khait may be reached at

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