In a recent Forbes.com blog post, Dr. Don Schultz, Professor (Emeritus-in-Service) Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University and BigResearch contributor/collaborator, noted that while CBS Chief Research Officer David Poltrack unveiled (at the recent Advertising Research Foundation’s “Re-Think 2011 Conference”) that, based on a new research study, “age and sex don’t matter when it comes to increasing TV ad effectiveness,” Schultz explains to RBR-TVBR these are not new findings at all.
Listen to the audio, above.
From Dr. Schultz’s blog: “After chasing the 18-45 women segment since the end of WWII, based on recommendations of Nielsen and the television folk, advertisers are being told….age and sex demographics aren’t that really important. Nothing to them. Using those factors to improve television response are, and have been, “essentially invalid”….not just now…..but, for years.
Poltrack proposed a new model, based on “viewer behavior” and “attitudes”. Those recommendations come from CBS and Nielsen research, supported by a couple of Nielsen-owned research units. Their premise: “Advertisers: we mis-led you for years. We told you age and sex were key. But, with our nifty new research units, who have this new data, we’re coming clean”.
All those premium rates you paid over the years, to reach those age and sex groupings, were wasted money.
Are we going to give you back your money?
But, we’ll sell you the new stuff so you can be “up-to-date”.
If ever there was a “bait-and-switch” scheme, this has to be one of the biggest. Billions wasted. No apologies. Just a new methodology.
Problem is: some of us have known that the age and sex of television viewers hasn’t mattered for years…if it ever did.
But, no one wanted to listen.
A colleague and I proposed a “media consumption” model at the ESOMAR and ARF conferences in 2004 based on large scale, nationally projectable samples from BIGresearch. That research showed all the age, sex, psychographic, time segment television models made no difference in terms of response. It didn’t matter what the advertiser sent out. What really mattered was what viewers took in…accessed….used. It’s what people did, not what marketers did, that counted.
All the super-sophisticated, mumbo-jumbo network and Nielsen models and measures were irrelevant. Simply didn’t matter.
Did anyone listen?
Of course not.
The television networks and Nielsen guys were king. They had all the currency. And, the advertisers believed them.
And, continued to believe them until Poltrack and Nielsen said it wasn’t so.
The question one might ask: How much money have advertisers wasted over the past 7 years since we told them that demographics were worthless? I don’t know, but, it’s probably more than enough to keep me in haircuts for the rest of my life.
RBR-TVBR note: If you’d like a copy of the 2004 paper which shot holes in age and sex targeting, send me an email. It will at least be something to show for all the money you’ve wasted over the years. [email protected]”
You may also find a PDF copy at the right hand side of this page. “Developing a Foundation for a New Apporach to Understanding How Media Advertising Works” gives suggestions of how and why the current advertising model should be changed, based on a consumer media consumption model, and discusses how simultaneous media consumption by the consumer is a major factor in understanding ad effectiveness.