UK TV industry body Thinkbox has an on-going research project called TV nation, which tracks people's attitudes towards different forms of advertising. This year it paired TV Nation with Ad Nation, a survey of people working in the advertising and media industries, and comapred the two groups. And the results made for interesting, if not entirely surprising, reading.
The study showed that ad folk in the UK differ greatly from the 'normals' in many ways, including work hours, uptake of technology, amount of socialising/drinking and use of social media. Those in this sector are meant to understand the motivations and behaviours of consumers, but it also showed their perceptions of 'normal' people were sometimes way off the mark, which shows how personal situations can impact on wider decision-making and why the cult of the new is so pervasive in this industry. For example, when asked to estimate how much time normals spend online each day, ad folk guessed 5 hours 45 minutes, when the average was actually 55 minutes. And when asked how much live TV the broader UK population watched, ad people estimated 55 percent when the actual figure was 89 percent.
- Check out the rather intriguing slides here.
As the report says: "A comparison between the two studies showed that there are sharp differences in lifestyle, behaviour and attitude between the general public and the media world, and that perceptions are sometimes wider still. This interesting and revealing report is a real eye-opener for the industry."
As Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam's head of planning Martin Wiegel says, "it's human nature to extrapolate from our own, personal experience of the world. And sometimes it is a useful place to start. But ... we would do well to remember that in some of our media and technology habits, we are very different from people in the normal world. So next time you hear somebody claim that 'everybody' is doing this, or 'everybody' is doing that, take it with a grain of salt. The chances are that they’re talking about themselves."
- For more about the gap between marketers and normals in the realm of social media and studies that we're not as digital as we think we are, check out the July/August edition of NZ Marketing.