Advertising clutter is under-researched but brands are concerned about its detrimental impact on recall and recognition. In order to stand out, brands are encouraged to focus on their creative executions and consider ad context and placement.


Advertising clutter describes the high volume of commercial messages that the average consumer is exposed to on a daily basis.

Key insights

1. High levels of clutter can negate the impact of advertising

An eight-year long analysis of the South African car market showed the importance of advertising to maintain share. Within this, looking at the impact of clutter – by combining the number of advertisers and total volume of competitive expenditure – it was found to have one of the greatest effects on advertising effectiveness. In fact, at high levels of clutter almost no amount of advertising had an impact on market share. In a highly competitive environment, even when clutter was distributed throughout other media, all media returns were reduced significantly.