Reaching Ad Avoiders And Other Notes From Cannes

  • by June 20, 2007
Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions and Starcom MediaVest yesterday released a study focusing on how to reach the one-third of 17- to-35-year-olds they dubbed the "Ad Avoiders."

This elusive group consists of people who say they never pay attention to advertising, who use various methods to avoid brand messaging, and who hold less than favorable attitudes toward the media content designed to influence them.

The research found two kinds of Avoiders:

  • 1. The "Ad Ambivalent"--they are passive, with limited energy with regard to advertising: "they simply want it to go away and marketers find it difficult to get their attention at all."

  • 2. The "Ad Averse"--they have extreme attitudes about advertising; "they love what they like and hate what they don't."

    The research offered guidelines in reaching the Avoiders:

  • 1. "Don't be a 'marketer over shoulder'." Marketers must remember that it is the consumers' space and advertising that enters this private circle is usually not welcome."



  • 2. "Don't expect something for nothing. Consumers are much more likely to be accepting of advertisers' messages if their time is exchanged for something, such as entertaining content."

  • 3. "Do be a welcomed surprise. Consumers find delight in discovering some remarkable, relevant, helpful content in an unexpected location."

  • 4. "Do let go. Ad Averse individuals appreciate space to make a brand 'their own.' They want to personalize it, shape it, own it."

  • 5. "Whatever you want to say, say it well." The respondents "were savvy about production values and acknowledged the work involved in making advertising interesting and entertaining."

    At the International Advertising Festival in Cannes, where the study was released, Matt Dyke, Worldwide Planning Director for interactive agency Tribal DDB, made a similar point during a panel discussion on the new landscape of digital innovations converging with the physical world.

    After showing examples ranging from Japanese talking robots that record shopping lists and lead customers around stores, to Google Earth allowing users to not only research locations but also explore in detail the streets, stores and happenings of their desired destinations, Dyke said: "What's bringing these things together, the digital world and the physical worlds waking up, are the consumers themselves. It's much more important for brands to think about how they can add value to consumers' lives."

    Likewise, Norm Johnston, managing director of Digitas, told a Cannes panel that pull will replace push in the next five years. Not that push will disappear: "the notion of highly relevant push will take off, but it will be so good that it will feel like pull." When done right, he said, "the consumer doesn't even know they are being advertised to."

    "Wherever and whenever you engage with the customer, you must provide them with a value exchange and take them to the next level," Johnston was quoted as saying, citing campaigns from Dove and IBM.

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