Do nonsensical media research findings get up your nose? A recent
piece of media research showed that ’direct mail avoidance’ rose by 11
per cent this year and ’avoidance of newspaper ads’ rose by 4 per cent.
What exactly do you have to do to avoid direct mail? I assume the
research means people say they take one look at the envelope and put it
straight in the bin.
But, being a punter, I take a more literal approach. ’Direct mail
avoidance.’ Think about it. Do researchers have secret CCTV cameras in a
sample of homes, demographically weighted to the national population (of
The camera would have to be positioned strategically in the hall, aimed
at the letterbox. I assume that market researchers spend hours watching
videotapes in a darkened basement, viewing the strange antics of the
British public as they spy a piece of direct mail (’Oh no, it’s coming
to get me’) and jump sideways, swerving across the doormat, to ’avoid’
There are many lucrative business opportunities that spin out from
Private medical insurers could offer insurance against being ’hit’ by
direct mail; an envelope could cause serious damage to your shins, or
even hit you in the groin, and ruin your chances of pulling on a
Broadcasters could take advantage of this as a new programme genre that
could potentially take over from the real-life documentaries that are
plaguing our TV screens. Nosey neighbour TV at its most interesting.
’Watch Mr Jones at number 27 and his letterbox avoidance tactics. This
week, we also see Maureen from TV’s Driving School avoiding newspaper
ads. Boy, does she turn the pages of the Express at the speed of
Obviously this is a really serious problem, and people will begin to
find even more creative ways of avoiding advertising. Advertisers ought
to sit up and take notice. So think twice before you take out your next
double-page ’spread’ in Sandwich and Snack News.