LONDON: Advertisers should consider paying a premium in order to run their ads in a less cluttered environment according to new research.

ZenithOptimedia surveyed a nationally representative group of 750 consumers in order to assess their responses to an audio ad. Three groups heard the ad at the start of a questionnaire and were asked about details from the audio ad and the likeability of the brand in question once they had completed this.

One group heard the ad by itself, a second group head it as one of a break of three audio ads and a third group heard it as one of six, the last replicating a typical commercial radio break.

"The impact of break length on the correct recollection of ad details was marked," Richard Shotton, ZenithOPtimedia's strategy director, reported in MediaTel.

Respondents were one third more likely to recall details like price when the ad ran alone rather than in a break of six ads.

The effects for likeability were less clear, with solus ads scoring just 10% better than when they were in the most cluttered breaks, although Shotton suggested the results may have been affected by the use of a well-known brand which had existing associations.

He compared the UK experience with that in the US, which runs three times as many ads on TV, and the Philippines, which runs four times as many.

Citing Millward Brown research he noted that its average Awareness Index for the UK stands at six, but this drops to four in the US and to just one in the Philippines.

"A little clutter may be a dangerous thing but a lot is lethal," Shotton observed.

There are two possible reasons at work, the first being people's limited ability to retain information, the second being the increased likelihood that people will do something else during ad breaks.

The conclusion is that, where possible, brands should avoid the longest ad breaks and might consider paying a premium "to secure a superior environment".

Data sourced from MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff