French consumers negative on inrease in ads

25 March 2010

PARIS: A majority of French consumers believe the amount of advertising and marketing activity in the country has increased in the medium-term, with negative consequences, TNS Sofres has found.

The research firm interviewed a representative sample of 1,008 adults in the European nation, in order to gain an insight into their views about corporate communications.

Overall, 79% of this group believed they were now exposed to a greater volume of brand messages than in the recent past, and 40% stated the number of commercial impacts had increased substantially.

Some 56% of the panel regarded this development in a less than complimentary light, as it encouraged them to "buy products and services that I do not need".

This opinion was particularly pronounced among older contributors, and also correlated with people who generally did not access the internet.

However, one third of the sample suggested that marketing campaigns provided them with an opportunity to learn about new products which met their needs.

Younger shoppers, regular internet users and members of AB+ households – encompassing individuals in higher income brackets – were the most positive in this area.

In terms of the forms of communications participants found the least appealing, calls from telemarketers delivered a score of 6.29 points when measured on a ten-point scale developed by TNS Sofres.

TV ads registered 4.88 points, with flyers and brochures on 4.55 points, while a variety of online and mobile formats – like banner ads, email and SMS – received totals in the 3–4.25-point range.

By contrast, product samples and trial offers recorded a figure of 0.79 points, with different in-store platforms falling between 0.86 and 1.3 points, with point-of-sale materials among the most popular.

Sponsorship of sporting and cultural events, newspaper, cinema and bus shelter advertising also came in at just under 2 points in all.

However, some of the channels which generated low favourability ratings were also ranked as the most influential, with flyers and brochures on 6.42 points, and TV ads on 1.11 points.

More broadly, traditional media like television and magazines, and, to a lesser extent newspapers and radio, were perceived as exerting a greater impact than the web.

Indeed, 54% of consumers displayed negative perceptions where online and mobile advertising were concerned, often because they were depicted as being overly intrusive.

However, around half of the cohort agreed that these forms of emerging media enabled them to acquire information and advertising that was tailored to their individual interests.

Moreover, 42% of respondents said they would be willing to view or listen to ads in exchange for services such as free phone calls and access to online video.

This reached a peak of 60% among young consumers, and compared with the total of 46% of adults who would rather pay for services that contained no advertising.

Data sourced from TNS Sofres; additional content by Warc staff