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Millward Brown: Knowledge PointHow Should You Take TVAdvertising Clutter Into Account?The level of TV advertising clutter varies greatly by country, and the amount of clutter affectsthe ability of ads to cut through. The natural response to clutter is to increase the spend behindyour ad, but that money might be wasted if thought is not given to how the spend is phased.Despite the explosion in multimedia activity, TV is still the main both ad clutter information (from Eurodata, Zenith Marketbrand-building medium for big advertisers in most markets. and Media Facts) and reliable audience measurement data,But the amount of TV advertising in different markets varies we conducted an analysis of the average response per Grossdramatically. Ad clutter is twice as high in the Philippines as it Rating Point (GRP) in terms of advertising impact. Based onis in Hong Kong, and twice as high in Hong Kong as in Ireland. the scores across a range of different advertisers, an average for each country was calculated. To aid comparison, the levelReduced ad impact of clutter was then indexed back to the average of all these countries.Advertising clutter – the sheer volume of advertising thatconsumers encounter every day – makes it hard for any The finding is clear; more ads on air means reduced adindividual ad to achieve its most fundamental goal, which is impact. This is probably due to a combination of factors.to be noticed. For example, consumers may leave the room during long ad breaks, or engage in other activity that makes them lessResearch by Millward Brown and others has highlighted the likely to see or remember the ads.importance of achieving and maintaining a share of voice The more TV Clutter, the harder it is to cut throughwithin your category that is at least equal to your marketshare. But the total amount of advertising within a country – 9 AI by 2008 Clutter levels MB Database Average Awareness Index for Country Taiwanthe overall level of clutter - must also be considered. 8 China Russia 7 Sweden UK MalaysiaThe more ads there are vying for a viewer’s attention, the 6 Ireland Australia India Mexico Japanharder it is for each advertisement to get its message 5 Netherlands Thailand France Hungary Italy USA Argentinaacross. This is apparent from the relationship we’ve observed 4 Czech Republic Poland Brazil Germanybetween ad clutter and the Awareness Index (AI). The AI is 3 Hong Kong R∂ = 0.5712 Spainour measure of “ad impact,” and it describes the increase in 2advertising awareness per hundred GRPs, after accounting 1 Philippines 0for effects due to media weight, diminishing returns, and 0 50 10 0 150 20 0 250advertising history. For each of the markets where we had Index of relative advertising clutter by countryMay 201 1
Millward Brown: Knowledge Point 2Spain – an exampleSpain provides a compelling illustration of this finding. In that Brands respond to clutter with heavier weightcountry, the TV environment changed dramatically between 180 R∂ = 0.3969 Brazil1996 and 2001; there was a massive growth in the number 160 Italyof new channels, and the volume of advertising shown per Median weekly GRPs from MB clients Netherlands Mexico 140 Poland Spain Colombia Argentinayear increased tenfold. Over that period, the rise in volume 120 Thailand Indiaof ad clutter was mirrored by a 30 percent decline in the 100 Russia UK France Germanyaverage level of advertising impact. 80 60 10 0 % 40 996 Total Advertising Hours per year. Indexed to 1 20 160 % Advertising Impact per 100GRPs Indexed to 1 0 0 50 100 150 20 0 80 % Clutter index 10 0 % What are the implications of increased weight? 60% When faced with markets with heavy clutter, advertisers can choose from a number of strategies. The first is to recognize 996 40 % 40 % 1996 1997 1998 1999 20 0 0 20 01 that it is crucial that your creative cuts through, engages viewers, and is memorably branded.How to respond to clutter? You should also try to maximize media multiplier effects. (SeeOn top of existing considerations about the size of the market our Knowledge Point “How to make the most of multimediaand relative costs per thousand, advertisers should think about advertising.”)the effect of clutter when it comes to planning internationalcampaigns. Rules of thumb about media exposure levels or While increasing the weight of advertising is a naturalGRP levels do not work across borders. The optimal level of reaction to clutter (particularly in a category context),media exposure in a cluttered market will not be the same as there is the potential for the extra spend to be wasted. Forthat in a low clutter environment. Clearly this is an important example, we often see that TV is over-invested in the shortfactor to consider when deciding how to divide up the media term. Generally we find ads work from the first exposure;budget across both markets, and across channels within the second and subsequent exposures contribute less, in athose markets. Increasingly international advertisers often diminishing returns pattern. The saturation point varies fromset weights based on clutter guidelines, and we typically see campaign to campaign, but, for short term goals, saturationour clients spending more per week in countries with the does occur. Nonetheless, continued spending generallyheaviest clutter. contributes to longer-term brand building. ©201 Millward Brown 1
Millward Brown: Knowledge Point 3There is, then, a conflict, that becomes most apparent in the Even outside of launches, it is important not to lose sightcountries with heaviest clutter. To overcome the clutter, the of the value of absolute reach, especially in multimediatendency is to increase spend. But there is a danger that campaigns where TV plays an important “pre-cooking” role.the increased spend may be wasted. Fortunately, there is So a new TV campaign may benefit from a big “kick off” inevidence that spreading the spend out gives better returns. the first two weeks. Subsequent weeks can then focus onIn one experiment, a brand moved to a drip strategy in the cost-efficient repetition at lower GRP weights until returnssouth of the country, while maintaining its burst strategy in are exhausted.the north. The drip strategy was more effective. However, there are two important caveats. Signs That The Drip Strategy Benefits Perceptions The first is that a low level of weekly GRPS should not all 80 be clustered into cheap, low-reach day parts. While buying Hear a lot about nowadays Test cheap GRPs looks cost effective and can, (according to 70 South models), generate cost-effective sales, to blindly pursue such 60 a strategy puts a brand’s long-term health at risk. You cannot North 50 influence people you don’t reach, so if you are only talking 40 to the proportion of your audience watching daytime TV, you50 0 GRP’s Per Week Brand X will slowly diminish the brand. 0 (North)50 0 GRP’s Per Week Brand X The other important point to note is that it is much harder to 0 (South) demonstrate the value of advertising when a continuous drip strategy is used, since sales and tracking metrics are more likely to show smooth rather than marked changes. This may make it harder for the marketing team to justify their budgetRecency planning – the spreading of GRPs to cover as many down the line.purchase cycles as possible - has been pursued globally formany years. Examples such as this support such planning. So To read more about optimal media planning, visitour recommendation in regard to clutter is often not so much www.mb-blog. comabout reduction in spend, as extension over time. This helps If you liked “Advertising Clutter,” you may also beShare of Voice in the longer term and helps other media interested in...work better for longer. Why is it so difficult to produce worldclassNonetheless, there are several arguments in favor of a heavier international advertising?spend at the start of a campaign. There will be times, such Great global ads: the secret of successas a launch, when you need to spend heavily to make a big How do I improve my Awareness Index?noise. A lot of other activity can be clustered around this “big Planning by Numbersbang”, including a campaign to increase shelf space. Share this Knowledge Point: ©201 Millward Brown 1