Saturday, October 9, 2010

One in five often find TV commercials confusing

Most everyone has felt it at some point. The commercial on television ends and there is still uncertainty about exactly what product or service that commercial was selling. You're not alone in that feeling of confusion. Three-quarters of Americans (75%) say they have found a commercial on TV confusing. One in five (21%) often find commercials on television confusing while 55% say they find commercials confusing not very often. Just 14% say they never find commercials on television confusing and 11% do not watch commercials on TV.
These are some of the findings of a new Adweek Media/Harris Poll, survey of 2,163 U.S. adults surveyed online between July 27 and 29, 2010 by Harris Interactive.
Differences by Age
Age plays a small role in how confusing these commercials appear to people. Three in ten people 55 years or older (29%) say they often find the commercials on television confusing. The number drops for younger Americans as 17% of those 45-54 year old often find commercials confusing as do 18% of those 18 - 34 years old and 13% of those 35- 44. Those 55 and older are also less likely to say they never find commercials confusing (10%) and more likely to say they do not watch commercials on television (13%).
Differences by Education
Are marketers just trying to hit a more educated audience? If so, it is still not working. Looking at levels of confusion by education there still is not much of a difference. Three-quarters of those who have an education level of high school or less (75%), those who have some college education (76%) and those who have a college degree or post graduate education (76%) say they have found commercials on TV to be confusing. And, one in five with an education level of high school or less (21%), those who have completed some college (22%) and college graduates (19%) often find commercials on television to be confusing.
So What?
Commercials are supposed to be somewhat clear. Yes, they can be artsy. Yes, they can be clever. Hopefully they are both entertaining and informative as well. But, a commercial's main focus needs to be selling a product or service. If consumers watching these commercials are unsure of that main focus, the marketers are doing something wrong. This is especially true in these trying economic times. People are cutting back on purchases so the advertisers need to do everything in their power to convince a consumer their product is the one to open their wallet for. If the ad is confusing that may dismiss that product from consideration.
The poll is conducted by Harris Interactive.