Measuring the ad offput effect

The purpose of advertising is, I am led to believe, to persuade people to buy a particular product or service. This being so, why do so many firms use such awful and off-putting advertisements on TV? I have just seen one such – an ad for Bird’s Eye’s new chicken steaks. It was noisy and jazzy, and I turned it off. Is that what the company wanted?

Does anyone measure the “offput effect” of ads?

I can think of as many that have put me off products as have persuaded me to buy them, and so can my wife. Kellogg (any of their products); Remington Razors (oh, that horrible American man); Direct Line Insurance with that stupid red phone and the awful bit of music which accompanies it; those electricity ads with the speaking turtles; any soap powder ad – they are transparently lying in unsubtle ways – and one of them even uses Danny Baker (always a turnoff); the more recent Guinness (“Genius?”) ads with that oily blond bloke, whoever he is, they all annoy us and put us off the products concerned.

In fact, neither my wife nor I can stand anything which is thumping rock music, talking plasticine animals, people shouting at each other or us, anything with Danny Baker in it, American voices, pseudo-American voices and Captain Birdseye, to name but a few things.

We are not against good ads – we love the Tesco series with Dudley Moore, the Nescaf romance and the Peugot 106 ad. But we still reminisce about what we feel was the heyday of advertising – the newspaper and hoarding ads in the Thirties – when there was both the subtlety and product connection that is often missing today.

We like persuasion, not assault.

JD Hearn



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