SYDNEY: In focusing on the television versus online debate, marketers are in danger of neglecting less glamorous media choices that consumers find genuinely useful in making purchase decisions, new research suggests.

The MOP Awareness Survey, carried out earlier this year among a representative sample of 1,500 Australians, asked participants which advertising types they found had most impact on them, and which channel had most influence on whether they purchased a product or service.

Earlier analysis of the results indicated a degree of apathy among Australians with regards to brands and advertising, with 57% unable to come up with an ad they felt positive about, while 66% couldn't manage one they'd hated.

The latest release of information shows, such indifference notwithstanding, that TV remains by far the most influential medium.

But after TV, catalogues came in a strong second, with 42% of consumers rating them as the most impactful, and 23% saying they were most likely to influence them to buy a product or service – just 2% behind TV.

Both measures comfortably beat radio, cinema, online, in store and other advertising options.

Further to this, women actually rated catalogues higher than TV for provoking real purchases. And supermarket catalogues were especially valued, suggesting that these still form a vital part of advertising for this sector.

Stephen Yolland, Director of Creative Strategy at Magnum Opus Partners, noted that there was a particular skill set required to create a successful retail catalogue.

“A great catalogue is about the writer and art director understanding the psychology of the reader, the way in which they will use the catalogue, and also testing a variety of formats to find out which work hardest,” he said.

“It’s most definitely not just about cramming products onto a page with the occasional starburst,” he added.

Well-designed catalogues, Yolland explained, “affect consumers’ view of the brand, and are also an opportunity to deliver lifestyle content, practical information regarding warranties and so forth, and to direct people to websites”.

He expected that “they will continue to evolve, be around – and be important – for a very long time to come”.

Sourced from Magnum Opus Partners; additional content by WARC staff