Joe Mandese, writing in today's MediaPost Real-Time Daily, recalls a 1975 study that estimated the typical American was exposed to about 500 brand impressions a day. Now, he says, Nielsen estimates we're bombarded with more than 5,000/day.
Ad messaging is no longer confined to the more obvious places of 40 years ago, such as TV and radio, magazines and newspapers, billboards and signs. Think about it -- every time you check your email, an ad banner opens on top, and often along the borders on both sides. Even when I opened the email with Joe's article, a pop-up ad came up and obscured some of his words until I clicked to close it. And when I got to the bottom of his article, there was another banner ad across the bottom of the message area.
Joe mentioned these numbers because his MediaPost group is launching a system that will track consumers' attitudes toward advertising as well as the media carrying the ads. It's being called the Ad Sentiment Index (ASI) and it should help marketers get a better idea of how ads impact consumers' attitude toward various brands.
Joe's article appeared just below another piece by George Simpson, who takes a lighthearted look at how we try to block some of those thousands of ads and messages that marketers aim at us every day. He talks about the annoying telemarketing calls and how he deals with them -- he doesn't; he just lets the phone ring unanswered.
Even though my home number is listed as a "Do Not Call" household, we still get several of those calls every day -- usually at dinnertime or during the evening when we're relaxing watching TV or reading. I often check the caller ID and if it's a number I don't recognize, I just let it ring. Or I'll pick up the phone and then just hang up. But sometimes, when I'm in a foul mood, I'll answer and as the caller begins talking I'll say something like "Oh, that sounds interesting. Can you hold on a second?" And I put the phone down and leave the caller hanging until they finally give up and disconnect.
Simpson writes about other things he does to avoid ads, like taking out all the blow-in cards in magazines and peeling off the ad sticker that often adorns the front page of the newspaper.
I agree with Simpson's parting advice to marketers. He writes, "None of it (the 5,000 ad exposures a day) matters unless you are selling a good quality product backed by flawless customer service. That's where loyalty and word of mouth come in, which is inventory you can't buy."
He's mostly right about that, except that with PR, properly done, you sometimes can buy (or maybe build is a better word to use) word of mouth and loyalty.