MOP AWARENESS SURVEY
Fractured media market leaving consumers cold says large consumer study conducted by MOP and TH?NK Global Research. Note: ABC Radio interview on the findings at the foot of the page.
• Australians largely unable to name ads or brands they really like, or dislike.
• Findings markedly different from previous surveys.
• The huge growth in media expenditure generally, and the advent of online
advertising, seem to have “muddied the waters”.
Independent agency Magnum Opus Partners (MOP) have a long history of polling the public to find out what advertising they like and dislike, with their well-respected MOP Awareness Study, conducted by Think Global Research.
So imagine if you poll 1,500 people that reflect the general Australian population today and ask them which ads they’ve seen that really made an impact on them: ads that they really liked, or disliked, by just letting them nominate any ad from amongst the thousands they see every week.
And then the majority of those Aussies come back and tell you they can’t think of a single one.
Pretty depressing for the ad industry, right? And advertisers, yes?
So what’s going on with that result?
Startling findings from Magnum Opus Partners Awareness Survey
Surveying 1500 Australians nationwide of all ages, the MOP Awareness Survey – professionally conducted by well-known market research agency TH?NK Global Research – was expected to throw up a range of ads that the public found easy to recall.
In previous surveys there have usually been clear winners – in the past, for example, iconic ads like “Not Happy, Jan” for Yellow Pages, and “Which Bank” for the Commonwealth Bank stood out from the crowd.
But this year, a massive 857 people – 57% of the sample – couldn’t indicate even a single ad that they could remember feeling positive about.
Not only that, but an even bigger percentage – 66% – couldn’t think of one ad they actually disliked, whereas previously the survey had found ads that seemed to drive everyone nuts. While a few market segments – gambling ads, for example, “screaming retail”, and insurance and banking – seem to be polarising, no one advertiser seemed to be saying anything much that stirs people up very negatively.
So is nothing apparently cutting through a media morass?
Commenting on the survey, Agency Director of Strategy Stephen Yolland commented:
“It’s been awhile, so we were very interested to see what’s changed. And it’s very obvious from the results that consumers today seem increasingly underwhelmed by the advertising on offer.
Almost nothing seems to be both cutting through and impressing people. There are successful exceptions, but certainly very little is being spontaneously remembered. Which means we all seem to be spending an awful lot of money just to leave people ‘cold’, and as ad agencies if we’re going to be responsible with our clients’ money then we need to look at that.”
“We all know that advertising works in different ways, and just because an ad or a brand doesn’t come up in an unprompted survey like this as being liked and remembered doesn’t mean it isn’t doing any good. It can perform better when people are prompted to recall it, or it can work well when seen or heard in conjunction with other mediums, such as radio, billboards, online, catalogues, or other reminders.
But to have almost nothing producing a “watercooler effect” that is strong enough to be picked up in a survey like this does suggest that both the creativity and the entertainment value of the work we do has declined somewhat, and also possiblythat there is now so MUCH advertising in the market that many ads seem to be being effectively “tuned out” by consumers.
Switch into "online" weakening brand awareness?
We also suspect that the big switch of media dollars into online* has resulted in a fall in product and brand awareness from the days when the vast majority of media money was spent on TV. Nearly two billion Australian advertising dollars now go into online. That’s a huge switch in advertiser behaviour. Where that growth in online expenditure has replaced expenditure in other mediums, as opposed to supplementing it, there may well have been a fall in both ad and brand standout.
Online ads might be useful - indeed they are, just as with any medium - but we think these findings suggest that they are pretty much useless in terms of creating brand positivity, as they are nearly always transactional in nature.
And frankly, it is very hard to convey emotion in a banner ad or create an emotional connection with it, when all’s said and done.”
Key brand findings
Interestingly, three supermarket brands did score well, with Woolworths, Aldi and Coles level-pegging at the top of the list of remembered and liked advertising.
1st. No Brand/No Ad
2nd=. Woolworths, Aldi, Coles
Of those advertisers that did register, Yolland singled out Aldi for praise.
“They’re obviously a “challenger” brand to the giant duopoly of Coles and Woolworths, and both their TV advertising in the last couple of years** and their choice of products show a commitment to surprising and pleasing the public. And despite not always having the prime positions in retail centres, they have obviously carved out a place for themselves in the Australian psyche with their quirky advertising and an interesting consumer promise.
In October last year, Aldi’s “share of voice” was reported as being 11.95% between April 2015 and March 2016, behind Woolworths (50.82%) and Coles (24.27%). That they are achieving a similar level of awareness and likeability would seem to suggest that the content of their advertising is cutting through better than their bigger rivals.***
In our view, Coles and Woolies have performed creditably, but it’s the arrival of Aldi as a genuine contender brand that we find most newsworthy.”
For further comment call Stephen Yolland on 0419 290 708 or email email@example.com
*Total online advertising spend continues to grow, with first quarter expenditure at $1.86 billion, up 7.2 per cent year on year. This represents a seasonal decline of 5.8 per cent on fourth quarter expenditure, although classified increased by 7.1 per cent compared to Q4 and had the strongest year on year growth of 15.9 per cent. All categories grew year on year with search up 6 per cent and display 4.5 per cent.
**Aldi increase ad spend including in main media as Coles and Woolies cut back
***Aldi “Share of Voice” less than Coles and Woolies
The MOP Awareness Survey conducted by TH?NK Global Research was performed nationally in early June 2017 with an ABS repressive sample of 1500 participants representing the voice of Australia. At least two further sets of findings will be released in coming weeks after more data analysis has been completed.