Guess What? Australians Don't Hate Ads.

Businesses, marketers, advertisers and designers know that to succeed in today's fast-paced, instant-gratification world, you have to get in customers' faces. And in an age where art and advertising melds into one big selfie-viral-social kingdom, some people actually do enjoy advertising. Well, sometimes. 

In 2013, Australia Post and Marketing magazine conducted two surveys - how customers want to hear from brands and how well marketers know their audience. The results are no doubt surprising. More significantly, it shows an unexpected rift between marketers and their audiences.

"Receptive" or "I'm Lovin' It" (with apologies to McDonald's)

The research began by looking at where people fit on the receptive to negative scale, compared to where marketers think they fit. "Ad Junkies" are described as people that, believe it or not, enjoy advertising, sometimes. "Affirming Realists" was the title given to people that think it can occasionally be entertaining or informative. 

"Affirming Realists" turned out to be the largest group. 45% of consumers identified as this category, but marketers thought only 18% fell into this group. Uncannily, consumers and marketers both agreed about the amount of "Ad Junkies": 17%.

The implications are worthwhile to consider. If almost one-fifth of your audience is looking out for your next big TV ad or eye-catching poster, consider them your "early adopters". In an age where people can be very passionate about brands or causes, don't forget to connect with your "fan base" - it's not just Justin Beiber who has groupies!

"Passive" or "Just Do it" (with apologies to Nike)

"Ambivalent Passives" was the label given to people that think advertising makes little difference to them. Perhaps it applies to an exasperated parent with screaming kids on the train. 11% of consumers identified with this category but marketers overestimated the number - they thought it was 17%.

"Blindfolded Ignorers" sounds disparaging but was nonetheless the category for people who think ads are annoying at times but tend to ignore it. Perhaps these are "Type A" personalities that have a laser-like focus on their goals in life - they see advertisements as selling them things they don't need. Again, marketers overestimated the number - they thought it was 17% while only 12% of consumers pride themselves on the ability to ignore ads.

Psychology experts may want to weigh in on this one - does an ad make a difference even if the consumer thinks it doesn't? Can someone actually ignore the ads they frequently come into contact with? There's probably tons of research on focused, repeated marketing changing the behaviour of even the most oblivious person. But perhaps that's a topic for another time.

"Negative" or "Bing It On"*

Grumpy pots, negative nancies, doubting thomases, "conspiracy theorists"... these naysayers think there's way too many ads and they can't stand it. Let's be honest, individually there are times when we feel that way, and perhaps we've even been involved in the creation of such ads! 

But here's the most surprising fact: the "Agressive Agressives", the most hostile, anti-ad people formed the smallest group at just 6%. Marketers heavily overestimated this number, thinking it was 15%. "Grumpy Rejectors", perhaps a tad nicer than the "Agressive Agressives", formed only 9% of those surveyed but marketers again overestimated the number at 16%.

*A wordplay on "Bring It On", check out BingItOn.Com, a Microsoft vs Google campaign.

Call in the experts

Here's the takeaway. The Australia Post and Marketing magazine data suggest that marketers assume a full one-third of people are very negative towards ads - but only 15% of people actually fall into this category. Considering that 45% of people are "pragmatic" about ads, perhaps it's time for marketers to rethink things.

If you're looking to formulate a brilliant print or online advertising and marketing campaign, why not give Team Wired a buzz. We'll help you translate research into action, and action into sales.

Photo credit: Flickr/Bernard Oh. Research credit: Australia Post White Paper - Views on media channels, June 2014, Austpost.Com.Au