Do you see 10,000 advertising messages every day? The American Marketing Association says probably so, but you just don’t realize it. With the growth in technology, the average consumer can switch between screens (phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, TVs, etc) up to 21 times every hour. In order to gain the necessary frequency that encourages a consumer to take action, advertisers tend to overload media with their product. If not done well, this can lead to ad burnout. Although media consumption has doubled to almost 10 hours daily in the last 70 years, consumers aren’t taking in that many more ads. Because of other distractions, viewers can avoid many ads.
This assignment asked me to be perceptive of the ads in my surroundings, so here is a summary of my day in advertising.
8:00 AM: My first alarm goes off. Not ready to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed, I decide to check my social media accounts. The first two posts in my Facebook feed are advertisements. One is a local event shared by a WVWC staff member. On campus and throughout the community, Facebook events are a cost-effective way of advertising. The information can be shared in seconds to a large group of people. The next is a sponsored ad from Cinnabon. Recipe videos make up a good 75% of my feed, so promoting their product in the form of a DIY recipe would likely gain my attention.
Next, I visited the Facebook Marketplace, a relatively new addition to the social media platform. With this tool, advertised products can be shown to me dependent on my geographic location. I hardly ever look through the products sold on the Marketplace, but from experience with family and friends, there is a good portion of Facebook users that visit it regularly.
10:00 AM: I head to campus for a meeting. Because of the vast amount of organizations at WVWC, walls, doors, and bulletin boards are covered in posters. The blood drive that had been shared on Facebook earlier can also been seen in print. I happened to arrive at a time when SunnyBucks was completely empty. While waiting for my meeting to start, the employee offered me a free breakfast sandwich, because she was just going to have to throw them out anyway. She did not mean for this to be a form of advertising, but offering a free sample could encourage me to visit the little campus convenience store more often. The TV was not on while I was in there, but the radio was playing; commercials were played infrequently between popular country songs, but I was able to catch an ad for the local news station.
A quick email check before I left presented more advertisements: the dreaded WVWC eMOs. Many people do not read any of them; some people read all of them. I am in the middle. If the subject line is interesting, I’ll check it out. Otherwise, I simply mark it as read. For anyone trying to advertise via eMO, make sure your message is something the viewer wants to hear. If not, it will just get lost in the crowd or deleted.
11:00 AM: My meeting is over, so I walk back home for lunch. As I was leaving, I noticed something written on the sidewalk. Some organizations choose to advertise events with chalk. It is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, so one of the WVWC WE LEAD teams advocated for this issue in a way that breaks through the regular posters. Not all messages stated the issue, like this example. A thought-provoking quote can be enough to make someone stop for a few seconds and focus their attention on the message. Sidewalk chalking is one of my favorite forms of advertisement, just because it’s eye-catching and underutilized. It can be hindered by the weather, though.
Staked signs along the sidewalk can also gain attention, like this one from Bobcat Entertainment, where they share their social media accounts.
11:10 AM: I’m about 300 feet from home. Two houses on my street are up for sale. This does not pertain to me, because I’m not currently in the financial state to buy a home, but I still see these signs at least twice daily.
11:12 AM: I’m finally home and looking for food. I found a new pack of Subway coupons in the mailbox and added it to the pile I keep attached to the fridge. I love a good deal, so these advertisements definitely encourage me to spend money on food more often than I should. Other advertisements laying around my house include the weekly Upshur County Value Guide and a phone book for which I have absolutely no use.
4:00 PM: Time to start my shift at Hibbett Sports. There are a multitude of advertisements packed into that small store. Customers are offered the opportunity to join our reward program or subscribe to our mobile coupons, with information posted all around the store. Both of these are spend-money-to-save-money programs and regularly bring in loyal customers.
Another in-store advertisement was geared toward employees, not customers. When you get a short lunch break and aren’t allowed to travel farther than Burger King, the offer of a discounted pizza delivery is pretty enticing.
9:00 PM: My shift is over. This is probably where I experienced the most advertising. Passing at least four fast food chains with their glowing logos, meal offers, and even some “now hiring” signs, it was difficult to keep up with it all.
Considering I usually tune out most ads, this is about the amount of messages I had expected to see in a normal day. I love TV, but without cable, I missed a lot of commercials. There were many points in the day in which I forgot about the experiment, where I might have missed some other ads. Tomorrow, I will most likely go back to my ways of selective sight and hearing when it comes to the advertising around me, but those who know that I’m in their target audience will know how to reach me.
All photos except for the featured image were taken by me. 🙂