New RAB Study Takes Aim At TV Advertising
February 21, 2013

A new study released by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) claims that recall of much-hyped Super Bowl TV ads is lower than one would expect, and that radio advertising is more effective. The RAB says, "Despite unprecedented hype around television ads that ran during this year's Big Game, many viewers said they didn't watch them -- and even when they did, consumer recall of brands advertising during the game was uniformly low."

The RAB adds that "Although the game brings out the advertising industry's best commercials, the results of the study show the limitations of television ads in selling products and highlight the fact that sight, sound and motion can distract from advertisers' basic messages -- in contrast to radio, where the audio message is more direct and personal and is not obscured by video or picture."

For half the ads tested, recall of the actual types of products advertised was below 10 percent among Super Bowl viewers. Also, when asked to name the brand itself being advertised without help, "most viewers could not link the brand to the ad." The ads also had little impact on viewers' perceptions of those brands. According to the RAB's data, only 15 percent of game viewers said they later looked for the ads or related content online; only nine percent posted, tweeted, or shared links about the ads; and as few as seven percent claimed that they actually looked for more information online about the advertised products or brands.

Companies paid an average of $4 million for a 30-second spot during this year's Super Bowl and the RAB notes that "radio works hard to register a marketer's message at a fraction of the cost."

The survey consisted of online interviews conducted three days after the Super Bowl, on February 6, with 750 respondents aged 18-54 who said they had watched the game and saw any of the 10 ads in question.

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Mark Adams
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