Nearly half of all UK viewers switch channels during the ad break,
according to Lowe & Partners Worldwide’s new Ad Avoiders research.
But the UK ad industry still fares better than that of continental
Europe, where viewers are even more likely to change channels or leave
the room during an ad break.
When it was last published in 1997, the research showed that dull ads
lead consumers to change channels. But the network’s latest study
indicates that whereas in the UK almost 50 per cent of viewers stop
watching ads always, most of the time or quite often, in Germany the
figure is a staggering 68 per cent.
Spain has the second-highest level of avoidance at 62 per cent, followed
by France and Italy, both at 56 per cent.
UK viewers find the quality of advertising high. In response to the
statement ’in general I think most advertising is quite good’, 71 per
cent of the UK respondents agreed. This contrasts with in Germany, where
only 45 per cent agreed. In Spain only 53 per cent agreed, in France 58
per cent and in Italy 59 per cent.
However, the research also shows that the UK viewer is becoming less
ad-friendly, with only 24 per cent of respondents saying they enjoyed
the TV ads as much as the programmes in 1997, compared with a 1991 high
of 33 per cent.
Tim Lindsay, president of Lowe & Partners Europe, said: ’Ad avoidance is
a serious problem in the UK, but is potentially disastrous in other
European markets, where vast percentages of the population are turning
their backs on advertisers’ attempts to communicate with them.’
The network is also investigating ad avoidance in the US but is facing
resistance from audience measurement companies, which are reluctant to
make information available.