How Clutter Affects Advertising Effectiveness

This paper reports from a range of data sets (including four new ones, described) on how different levels of ad clutter in TV and radio affects how advertising works.

How Clutter Affects Advertising Effectiveness

Peter Hammer, Erica Riebe and Rachel KennedyEhrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science


“Clutter” describes the level of advertising and other nonprogramming material within a medium (Speck and Elliott, 1998). Advertising clutter across media is at an all-time high and now has reached daunting proportions in many countries (White and Dawson, 2007). Some observe that a more cluttered environment reduces advertising viewing (Webb and Ray, 1979), increases avoidance (Speck and Elliott, 1998), impairs advertising memories (e.g., Cobb, 1985; Webb and Ray, 1979), inhibits the ability of audiences to correctly identify the...

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