“Never more than two ads in a row”. The quick reassurance from Nova 96.9’s Merrick and Rosso settles my urge to reach for the station dials. I resist. I guess I can sit through two ads. Three…mmm probably not.

Finally a radio station has woken up to the fickle nature of the average listener and the adverse effects of advertising clutter.

Ads have become the modern day plague. As Rebecca Bealer commented on the previous blog post – there is just no way to get away from advertising these days. Subtle or in your face, advertising is everywhere, and research shows consumers are simply just tuning out.

As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, metropolitan radio company DMG released research claiming more than 25 per cent of listeners tune out of a traditional radio six message ad break. Melbourne company NeuroInsight’s radio research found that the average advertising break of six spots resulted in 11 per cent of listeners immediately tuning out after the first ad, rising to a 27 per cent drop-off for the second, third, fourth and fifth spots.

Nova stations have long claimed their “two ads in a row” position to be more effective for advertisers and preferred by listeners. Various other companies now seem to be catching onto Nova’s ‘less is more’ philosophy. As The Sydney Morning Herald article reveals, several media buying groups and advertising agencies are now campaigning for a reduction in advertising clutter with a call to increase advertising costs.

This proposal is definitely one for the public relations industry to keep their eye on. A reduction in advertising clutter will result in a reduced number of messages battling it out in the boxing ring for the consumer’s attention.

Since effective PR is about conveying a message to an audience, a reduction in competing messages can only increase the impact messages will have on an audience. Audiences will become more receptive to messages when there is less information out there for them to digest. This will greatly benefit PR, positioning the industry as a viable investment for any company needing to communicate their messages to an audience.

The reality of advertising clutter in Tokyo, Japan.

Gemma Crowley