Majority of Australians can't recall brands or ads, study finds

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 10 July 2017
At least one ad has one Australian hot under the collar.

Australian consumers are underwhelmed by advertising as the move towards digital is blunting brand recall, a new survey has found.

Supermarket brands – Coles, Woolworths and Aldi – had the best recall, although this is after 'no brand, no ad'.

The Magnum Opus Partners Awareness Survey, carried out by Think Global Research, polled 1,500 Australians on their ability to recall brands and advertising.

It found 857 people – 57% of the sample – couldn’t indicate a single ad that they could remember feeling positive about.
Even more, 66%, couldn’t recall one ad they disliked compared to previous survey that found several ads consumers hated.

In past MOP Awareness Surveys, iconic ads like Yellow Pages 'Not Happy, Jan' and Commonwealth Bank's 'Which Bank' stood out from the crowd.

A few market segments, such as gambling ads and 'screaming retail', insurance and banking were polarising, but the study found that no one advertiser seemed to be saying anything that stirred up consumers in a positive or negative way.

”It’s very obvious from the results that consumers today seem increasingly underwhelmed by the advertising on offer,” Magnum Opus Partners agency director of strategy Stephen Yolland says.

“Almost nothing seems to be both cutting through and impressing people. There are successful exceptions, but certainly very little is being spontaneously remembered.”

“To have almost nothing producing a 'watercooler effect' that is strong enough to be picked up in a survey like this does suggest that both the creativity and the entertainment value of the work we do has declined somewhat, and also possibly that there is now so much advertising in the market that many ads seem to be being effectively 'tuned out' by consumers.”

Yolland blames the '$2 billion push' into digital has resulted in a fall in product and brand awareness compared to the days when the vast majority of media money was spent on TV.

“Online ads might be useful - indeed they are, just as with any medium - but we think these findings suggest that they are pretty much useless in terms of creating brand positivity, as they are nearly always transactional in nature,” Yolland says.

“And frankly, it is very hard to convey emotion in a banner ad or create an emotional connection with it, when all is said and done.”

Although the study indicates ad recall is on the decline, not every consumer AdNews has come across has problems recalling creative they dislike. This publication recently received a complaint about a current Coles campaign.

"For gods sake get rid of Casey Donovan from the Coles ad. That screeching voice of hers is enough to burst your eardrums; that has to be the worst ad on television," the complaint began.

"She sounds like a cat with its private parts caught in a vice, that ad is enough to make you never want to shop in Coles ever again. Bring back Status Quo, they are rock legends and have good singing voices. That ad is a disgrace.

"Every person talks about it and hates it. Get rid of it, for god's sake, have some compassion for the rest of humanity as we are the victims that have to put up with it."

Top seven brands
1st: No brand/no ad
2nd = Woolworths, Aldi, Coles
5th: Kmart
6th: McDonalds
7th: Qantas

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