NEWS YOU CAN USE

A few choice studies came across my Inbox the last couple days, and some key findings are wholly applicable to the realm of experiential marketing. Allow me to rattle some off:

According to a study from Parks Associates’ Digital Lifestyles: 2006 Outlook, US consumer spending for online entertainment like gaming, music and video services will grow by 260% in the next five years. Revenues are expected to hit $9 billion in 2010. Wow! Score one for the empowered consumer who will find his or her own entertainment choices, and mass media be damned.

Sharpe Partners is reaffirming what we all already know: The majority of U.S. adult Internet users share content with others via email, with jokes and cartoons being the most frequently forwarded content. Some 89% of adults surfers share content, 63% share that content at least once a week, with 25% sharing daily or almost daily, and as many as 75% of the respondents forward this content to up to six other recipients.

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More interestingly, 75% of respondents said that brand sponsorship had no impact on whether or not they forwarded a message, 19% said it actually has a positive impact and only 7% deemed it negative. Well, heck! I guess all the creatives out there better get more jokes in their repertoire.

And finally, Media Post’s Media Daily News has posted a survey suggesting that “new research forthcoming in the Journal of Advertising Research suggests that there is more to the picture than just counting occurrences. The traditional “frequency-based” approach works on the assumption that each “occurrence” is equal. In fact, there are a number of other dynamic and important elements at work.

In TV shows or sporting events where there may be continuous, static, or repetitive occurrences of a brand, logo, or product, a viewer’s attention, awareness, and engagement to that stimulus gradually decays over time. This is a well-known fact confirmed in perception (aural and visual) and attention studies. Advertisers have borrowed from this and apply a “decay rate,” called a half-life, to account for the diminishing influence advertising has over time.

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In addition, the “frequency” approach (counting occurrences as if they are all equal) misses the entire dimension of “engagement”: how people actually view, make sense of, and respond to the brand in content and attend to a show, storyline, or episode. If we take the Everlast brand in “The Contender” as an example, as the involvement and interest in the show increases, the decay rate (recall/recognition of the brand) kicks in. After a certain amount of time, attention to the Everlast brand fades away as people become more involved in the content, action, or story being presented in the show. A “crossover dynamic” occurs that mitigates the frequency effect. Another example is the red Coca-Cola cup on “American Idol”–while awareness may be high at the beginning of the show, by the end, it becomes as black as Simon’s shirt.”

See, that last sentence was a scientist trying to be funny there. Maybe the post will be forwarded like crazy.

And one last thing: a reader of this blog has pointed out that the term “jumping the shark” was proliferated by ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons. Thanks, Scott, for the heads-up.

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