‘Ad Avoidance’ by Asian Consumers Threatens Region’s Advertising Growth

18 June 2001

Asian consumers are becoming less receptive to mass-marketing campaigns, a trend that could threaten the future of the region’s entire advertising industry, says a recent study by independent research group Milward Brown & Associates.

In the fourth of its regional surveys correlating advertising content with effectiveness, the MBA report forecasts that the level of ad avoidance by the Asian public – ignoring ads because their content doesn't appeal – will escalate to worrying levels within the next twelve to eighteen months.

Among the most common reasons for ignoring ads is their irrelevance to local culture, complained respondents, who described these as “annoying”. In Shanghai, for example, ads that reflect the local situation are few and far between, the majority having little cultural impact. The most common reasons for paying attention to ads in print and on television, says the study, is that consumers believe them to be “relevant to me” or “visually appealing”.

Nor does local TV programming practice help the situation, according to MBA. In Vietnam and Indonesia, commercial time is allocated in twenty-minute blocks, requiring viewers to watch [or not] up to thirty ads in a single commercial break.

This is the first such survey devoted to Asia. Observed Asia Market Intelligence project director Jam Mariquit: “With so much clutter out there it's hard to get the message through, especially if the consumer isn't enjoying the ad. The more a consumer enjoys an ad, the more interest they will have in the product.”

In the USA the level of ad avoidance has reached 54%. It is even higher in France at 56%, Italy at 62% and Germany at 68%. In the past decade, overall ad avoidance has increased by 10%, the study finds.

News source: Wall Street Journal