Ad Recall Rises

The Longer Viewers Watch
NEW YORK–A study by Zenith Media, being distributed to clients, confirms the long-held belief that the longer viewers stick with a TV program, the more ads they remember.
Still, the research also revealed that only 6 percent of a random, nationwide sample could remember any advertising without prompting. And even when prompted, 39 percent could not remember a single ad.
About 1,200 adults were asked questions about TV spots on prime-time shows on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. Results were compiled in a report that Zenith recently released. Other highlights include:
– Longer spots were easier to remember than shorter ones.
– The first spot in a break fared better than others. But the longer the string of spots, the harder it was to remember the first.
– Viewers ages 35-49 recalled more spots than their younger or older counterparts.
In addition, “high-persistence” shows, such as NBC’s Friends, produced an ad recall 10-15 percent above the average. “Low-persistence” types, including Fox’s Cops, scored 15-25 percent below average.
“What this research begins to poke at is whether and to what extent it is justifiable to pay [more to buy time during prime time],” said Rich Hamilton, Zenith’s U.S. CEO. “This puts meat on the bones of the theory that loyalty to the program counts for the advertising within it.”
The Zenith U.S. Persistence Study–which cost $80,000, the most Zenith has ever paid for a study in the states–was done by Nielsen Media Research during a two-week period in December, said Helen Katz, svp, director of strategic resources, Zenith.
Zenith’s study followed a similar one in Britain. Next up is Spain.