Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lifestyles of the Ad Averse

+ Mediaweek reports on a study conducted jointly by Microsoft and Starcom, with help from researcher Millward Brown, which reads like a script for a film titled Nightmare on Madison Avenue. The report, Lifestyles of the Ad Averse, found that between 10 percent and 15 percent of adults 17-35 fall into the category of "ad avoiders" i.e. folks that don't like advertising, and generally find it "annoying."
he active group is more likely to be young, tech-savvy men who deliberately consume media that has no ads, like DVDs and satellite radio. The passive group is comprised of women, often parents, who gravitate to leisure activities that are untouched by ads, such as books or board games.

Avoiders of all stripes represent a scary prospect for marketers. "This is the kind of stuff that keeps us up at night," said Beth Uyenco Shatto, research director at Microsoft.

Both groups' habits make them hard to reach by conventional means. Twelve percent of avoiders surveyed said they watch less than one hour of TV per week versus just 3 percent among non-avoiders. Both index low for listening to the radio and reading magazines. And technology like DVRs and the iPod is only making it easier for these avoiders to shun ads.

So what's a brand to do? According to Uyenco Shatto, advertising needs to become more optional, more creative and more relevant. "If you really want to make an impact you really have to customize your message," she said. "Plus, the more interactive you get, the more convincing you are."

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