Desensitization threatens advertisers

Posted on Feb 20 2014 - 11:26am by Guest Writer

By Amanda Gentry, Guest Writer

On a daily basis, consumers can see anywhere from hundreds to thousands of advertisements yet only be consciously aware of a small amount of them. This is due to desensitization — the more ads we see, the less attention we pay to each individual ad.

As we progress in years, we are faced with alterations in marketing tactics as the consumer and technology change.  Ads are becoming more interactive and are catered to individual needs and preferences to make them more stimulating to the purchaser.

According to an article in the “Journal of Interactive Advertising,” some approaches to advertising may work in the short term. But in the long run, these are likely to be unsuccessful as shoppers become more accustomed to this new style and learn to overlook these messages.

In the book, “Gimme! The Human Nature of Successful Marketing,” John Hallward states that in a study that asked viewers to describe a television ad they had recently seen, only about half could correctly identify the company the advertisement was promoting.

This has become a real problem for companies who want to get their names out there, so they are coming up with new and creative ways to advertise their products and brand labels.

In order for advertisers to be remembered, they have to strategically place ads where the consumer will see them, whether it’s on the Internet, product placement in a TV series or even in mobile applications.

This forces marketers to keep up with the development of technology and social media sites as well as popular trends. By doing so, their messages become widespread in a number of interactive and personal ways to get the attention of their intended audience using emotional and sensory triggers.

In December 2006, the California Milk Processing Board resorted to cardboard “Got Milk?” ads encased in the bus stop walls in San Francisco that emitted the smell of chocolate chip cookies to play to the consumer’s sense of smell.

Since businesses put out numerous advertisements for the public eye to see, shoppers are bombarded with them. Many studies, such as one that was published by the Britannica Academic Encyclopedia, have concluded the conscious part of the brain can process 40-50 bits of sensory information per second whereas the subconscious can process millions of bits of information per second.

According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, “although the brain is an amazing organ, it’s not equipped to process the billions of bits of information that bombard it every second.” It also describes that the brain has filters to keep the brain from overloading, allowing the brain to only process about 2,000 bits of information per second.

With the amount of advertisements consumers see in one day, they may not be consciously aware of them all, because they are subconsciously tuning them out.

As marketing continues to change, consumers are becoming more oblivious to what they see around them.