Consumers' Guide to Surviving Television Advertisements

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Consumers' Guide to Surviving Television Advertisements


I have been working on this for the past few weeks. Here I am with my views on the impacts of television advertisements on consumers. This post is intended to create awareness among consumers so as to help them evaluate their own vulnerability to television advertisements and eventually train their brains to stay away from the attempts at methodical subversion at the intellectual level that modern television advertising has evolved to be an expert at. In simple words, I wish this post can help my readers identify how their brains are attacked with and without their knowledge to make them spend money on things by means of television advertisements. Click here to download the pdf version of this post.

Thanks to the Participants!!!

A massive THANK YOU!!! to all those who helped me by responding to my queries and survey. I had to reach out to so many of you in the process of researching for this post and I know very well, how intrusive my behavior had been. I apologize if at any time my actions pertaining to reaching out to you seemed intrusive or invasive of your privacy. My intentions, like I had earlier disclosed, are more oriented towards creating public awareness regarding the topic in my own way. I have taken and am taking so much from this world and I believe it is only natural for me to feel the need to give back. Thanks again to those who helped me with this. Thanks again for the fantastic support.

Who Is This Applicable To

Anybody, anywhere, who reads this post, can gain at least one useful perspective on how television advertisements influence consumer behavior. I have managed to bring together information from multiple sources and so this post does have a mufti-cultural mix from the input standpoint. However, one section of the research I did for this post pertains mostly to Indian viewers owing to the fact that majority of the participants are Indians. But I have compiled the information such that the the interpretations can be understood by people from other cultures too. So read on fellas.

My Methods

The primary data for this post comes from a little survey I did using the services of Here is the link to the survey:

Do take the survey if you are interested and I will make sure to update this post with the new results. Personally, I am more curious to learn how the data trend changes with the increase in the sample size.
I did use two television advertisement videos from YouTube in the survey and those ads are given below (survey data analysis section).

The secondary data comes from research involving previously published academic, industrial and government research work in topics including but not limited to advertising, consumer behavior and related statistics. My skepticism got heavily challenged by the information that came across my eyes from these sources.

I have used a new method that I think will help us to learn more about the topic and honestly, my knowledge is not vast enough to verify if this method has already been used before. I, however, wish to name it Circumstantial Reverse Mapping of Ideas. All this does is, it takes a message and reverse maps the “content-to-intention” flow of ideas, which in definition would be a qualitative analysis of content for the possible reasons behind its inclusion in the message (in this case…television advertisements). In other words, by using this method, we would go from the ad-content to the possible reasons for which the advertiser might have included it in the advertisement. This method is in a way, a circumstantial backwards walk-through method, investigative and qualitative in nature. Again, if any of you feel there is a similar method of analysis already in practice in any domain for that matter, do let me know so I can thank the persons responsible for it.

I also went over a few advertisements, attempting to explore the content and intentions of the same and in the process give you one of the million rational perspectives of viewing a television advertisement…in this case…something similar to mine. Let’s get started.

The World of Television Advertisements

The world is filled with television channels and the numbers keep increasing with time. The television brought with itself a modern medium that could reach a wide number of consumers. The early days had the television as an expensive luxury but now it has been reduced to a necessity that is affordable to almost all sections of people. The general public and the broadcasters view television in specific ways but marketers and advertisers viewed it from a completely different angle. With the advent of television, marketers realized that they can reach the illiterates and under-educated who might otherwise not have access to or comprehend the print versions of advertisements. Even with images, the print ads require that the viewer possess a certain capacity to read and comprehend information so as to make the print-ad effective in purpose. This becomes important especially in developing countries like India as illiteracy is still a hurdle to vast segments of social and infra-structural developments. Moreover the television does something that other medium just could not do…..keeping the audience alert and focussed on the content. With the boom in cable television and the subsequent direct-to-home services, television has penetrated most of the households that has access to disposable income and to some extent, even those that doesn’t. Therefore, compared to the other mediums, television has the highest success rates when it comes to impressions or views for the advertisements. These are a few major reasons why companies spend large amounts of money on television advertisements. Hindustan Lever, a company with an Indian name, which is owned by Anglo-Dutch Unilever, spent about 60% of its total advertising budget on television advertisements in the 90’s, which was still the period of growth for television.

Looking back, it was easily one of the smartest moves the company did because as of now, consumers from villages that still have incomplete access to electricity, sewage-drains and drinking water are regularly purchasing at least one product from Hindustan Lever. In the Indian market alone, spending on television advertisement rose by 118% from 1995 to 1996, the figures being INR 23.9 billion to INR 49 billion. [Lynne Ciochetto]

Nielsen reports on the global ad-spend trends indicate the the year 2011 ended with a 10.1% increase in Television Ad-Spend (globally) with the share of 65.1% of the total ad spend during the same period. Subsequent Nielsen reports indicate that the first half of 2012 had online ad spend increase by 7.2% and still the lion’s share belonged to television advertisements scoring over 61%. This indicates the reach and return on investments on advertisements through television. If it did not pay off, marketers would not choose the medium for ad spend. [Nielson Global Ad-View Pulse]

What Happens and How is it Measured?

Read the rest of this article here: