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Wednesday 5 March 2008

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A recent study was conducted by PreTesting, a firm based in the USA showed that many print advertisements had too much information and too many messages, which in turn confused readers and meant they spent much less time reading the advert.

In many cases, the advert was ignored and the reader immediately went on to the next page. The study was set up to identify the behaviour of magazine readers when looking at advertisements. The readers believed they were being tested for a magazine, which meant their reading habits would be more natural.

The first advert featured a drug called Blahtosis. When initially reading the advert, 68% of the readers were interested in what it was! However, once the readers had got to the bottom of the advert, only 22% were still actually reading and curious to know more.

Pretesting also measured the reactions of 100 consumer’s eyes when reading through a series of adverts. They noted that when a person is interested in something, their eyes vibrate faster! Pretesting were able to track the eye movement to see the sequence that readers look at adverts and the duration at each point in the advert.

A MasterCard advert was also studied. This featured a Mother and Daughter. 92% of the readers read much of the MasterCard “Priceless” blurb under their faces. Lee Weinblatt, CEO of PreTesting commented “The image showed that it had stopping power. It was engaging”. However, once readers saw the MasterCard logo interest dipped significantly. Perhaps that is because the MasterCard brand heavily advertises elsewhere and people feel they already know the tag-line and services they offer.

The key messages to take from this research are simple, yet so difficult. You have to strike the balance between content and space! Images are key- Choose imagery that will stand out. A good way of doing this is looking at a newspaper/ magazine page that is full of adverts- and then look at imagery that would instantly stand out to readers! It is not as easy as it seems. If you want to avoid confusion with your brand, talk to Mediation Communications NOW!


Hein, Kenneth, Brandweek; 4/02/2008, Vol.49 Issue 5, p15-15, 1p


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