Marketers may have bigger issues than TV viewers who fast-forward through commercials. Many viewers can be outright confused over their ad messages.
An Adweek/Harris Poll says three-quarters of Americans have found a commercial on TV confusing. On a more consistent basis, 21% often find commercials on television lack clarity.
The good news for marketing creatives is that a little more than half -- 55% -- say commercials generally are not confusing. A smaller group -- 14% -- say they never find commercials confusing.
Also positive overall, 90% of viewers say they watch commercials. Fourteen percent say they never watch commercials. (The poll says some of its numbers don't add up to 100%, due to mathematical rounding of data.)
Commenting on the survey, Brad Adgate, senior vice president and corporate media director of Horizon Media, notes: "Perhaps it has to do with either the amount of ad clutter now on television or the fact that ads are becoming too creative. [Marketers] hope the viewers will not surf when watching live or zap when watching on a time-shifted basis."
For years, ad comprehension and viewing have been a consistent problem for marketers, say industry executives. Commercials may have terrific-looking creative. But does it sell product? The answer is -- as it has been for years -- sometimes.
Confusing commercials seem to run high among older TV viewers -- 55 plus. The poll said about 30% of these viewers can be found scratching their heads after looking at TV messages from marketers.
Less confused are slightly younger viewers -- 45- to-54-year-olds -- at only 17%. Viewers 18-34 are at about the same rate, 18%. The lowest numbers belong to 35- to-44-year-olds at 13%.