When Do Spots Wear Out?
We’ve all seen them. TV spots that grate on us after we’re forced to watch them for what seems like a million times. “Please!,” we plead, “Can’t you get that spot off the air already?”
When exactly do spots “wear out?” And at what point is there a diminishing return on effectiveness?
Research shows that the average TV viewer has to notice the average spot 3.5 times before he/she is able to understand what it’s saying (what the .5 time represents, I can only guess). And media folks will tell you to get to that 3.5 viewings, we actually have to reach that viewer in excess of 12 times.
The thing about these statistics is that they refer to the “typical” spot (if ever there was such a thing). Common sense tells us that if you produce a spot that does a better job at engaging the audience than the “typical” spot, viewers won’t have to see it so many times to get it. By the same token, produce a version of the all too common “run the strategy”-type spot, and your viewers probably won’t get it, no matter how many times they’re exposed to it.
So is it safe to say, then, that spots that get noticed more wear out before mediocre ones? Not so fast, Sparky.
One of the reasons good spots are engaging is that viewers like them and can relate to them. These spots are not viewed as “clutter” in the way other advertising is. They are more like invited guests. They are the spots you actuallylook forward to. It seems the commercials that annoy us are the ones that talk to us like we’re four-year-olds and assume zero reasoning ability on our part. Or the ones that are so blatantly unbelievable we want to gag.
So the one question you need to ask regarding your creative is: How does this engage the viewer? Will the viewer like it, or will it be the electronic equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard? Don’t panic if every copy point isn’t there. Ask if your advertising is addressing your viewers’ emotional needs, or if you are simply preaching to the choir?
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