JOHANNESBURG: More than half of TV advertising spend in South Africa this year has been wasted, according to an industry figure who says that most new ads are not achieving any cut-through with viewers.

Monique Claassen, director/Media and Digital Insight at Millward Brown Africa, based her conclusions on an analysis of Millward Brown's Adtrack database, a post-launch evaluation and planning efficiency tool that measures the awareness, noting and liking of all new brand commercials launched on-air.

From January to July this year, she reported, 58% of all ads had failed to resonate effectively with consumers, she wrote in The Media Online.

Further, 16% of all new ads achieved below average cut-through at launch, "which is the equivalent of R1.4bn that brands can simply write off".

Another 42% of all ads had achieved average cut-through "or R3.8bn that brands have gambled with".

Claassen added that performance varied greatly by category, brand and target audience, and noted that "some categories have failed to produce any marketing value for brands".

For example, 63% of cosmetics ads tracked achieved had registered below-average "noting" among lower income consumers (those with a household income of less than R10 000 per month); "almost R7 out of every R10 spent on TV was a fruitless marketing endeavour," she said.

Fast-food ads, on the other hand, resonated much more highly and cut-through here was above the national average.

Charting reach against "noting" for the last 374 ads tracked at launch, Claassen found little correlation between the two.

"There is a plethora of adverts with very high levels of reach and very little cut through, which points to weak creative," she said.

"There is also a multitude of adverts which have above average noting (but very little exposure), pointing to lack of media investment at launch.

"Both scenarios highlight a missed marketing opportunity."

Data sourced from The Media Online; additional content by Warc staff