Remember, you are not 'normal' - but there is one key area in which you are

By Neil Mortensen,, Thursday, 05 September 2013 08:00AM

If you're reading this - and I suspect you are, unless you are so powerful that your PA is reading it to you - it is highly likely that you're not normal. I've checked.

Remember, you are not 'normal' - but there is one key area in which you are

I say I’ve checked; I mean Ipsos Mori has checked in a new study called Ad Nation, which looked at how adland compares with "normal" people. It looked at things such as lifestyle, political attitudes, technology ownership and perceptions of advertising. It was very revealing.

Our industry is meant to be expert at understanding people’s behaviour, but are we keeping up with how the vast majority behave or do we see the world refracted through our special prism?

Yes, you’re different. For a start, you love social media. A whopping 84 per cent of adland claim to have visited Facebook in the past three months, compared with a 46 per cent average; 90 per cent have been on YouTube, compared with a 44 per cent average; and 72 per cent are on Twitter, compared with 17 per cent of "normal" people. Oh, and 87 per cent of you have popped to LinkedIn, compared with 10 per cent nationally.

Media folk are early adopters of technology too; the country, by definition, is not. So it was not surprising to discover adland is more tooled up. Seventy-two per cent of adland own a tablet, compared with an average of 24 per cent. Smartphones are near-ubiquitous (94 per cent compared with 64 per cent of the nation) and it is the same for games consoles, with ad people almost twice as likely to own one (60 per cent versus 33 per cent).

It should not be a surprise that you’re not typical TV viewers either. A group of people packing such an arsenal of technology has many ways to watch TV, and Ipsos found that you use them – or at least claim to. On average, 67 per cent of the UK say they only watch TV on a TV set but, in adland, this is a mere 15 per cent. Quite right too: we’re supposed to be across the whole thing. But it is worth remembering the audience largely isn’t.

Are we keeping up with how the vast majority behave or do we see the world refracted through our prism?

Though adland may try other screens over TV, when asked which one they prefer, the answer was the same as the nation at large: the biggest one. In fact, asked about their preferred screen, 92 per cent of adland said the TV set, compared with a national average of 88 per cent.

I won’t dwell too much on what adland thinks about advertising – other than to say that the country and the industry actually do agree on a favourite form: (you guessed it) TV advertising.

Neil Mortensen is the research and planning director at Thinkbox

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