Is an annoying ad bad for your business?

Have you ever reached a point where you want to throw something at the TV if THAT annoying commercial comes on just one more time?

The saturation style advertising we see during live sport broadcasts is most likely to draw out that the kind of reaction.  You know the scene where every ad break is a combination of one of four sponsoring companies with the same 30 second commercial played over and over again.

Of course, technology has now given us the chance to fast forward through ads and avoid them altogether.  That means the days when we were forced to sit like zombies growing increasingly enraged appeared have gone.

However, despite all that, I am not convinced that annoying TV commercials are necessarily that bad for business.  It simply depends on what the ad is trying to do make you think or do – OR who it is aimed at.  For example, many women are understandably outraged at the depictions of immature males acting like buffoons in beer ads.  Here’s the thing girls: The ad isn’t aimed at you!  The advertiser has its eyes set on the stupid gene that sadly tickles the fancy of a great many males aged 18-25.  (I’m not saying that’s a good thing by the way, I am simply making the point that what is annoying to one person might be a barrel of laughs for another).

There is no doubt that the ads that annoy me most on TV are those ranting Harvey Norman screamathons.  100 years interest free!  Never pay, anything…at all…ever!  But the point is when I am in the market for an electrical device does the ad stop me from going to Harvey Norman? Honestly?   Nope.  In fact, I have the words Harvey Norman, cheap, discount and lower prices burned into memory.

Of course, if the purpose of an ad is to make me feel more affectionate towards the brand, that’s another matter.  Again, even brand commercials are designed to target a specific audience, so don’t judge them too quickly. 

However, in order to do its work any brand commercial has to engage me emotionally at some level.  That doesn’t always mean I like the content.  It could be more that the ad draws me in and works away in my sub-conscious.  Studies show great ads have to work at both a rational and emotional level.

So to answer the question: Yes, an annoying ad can be bad for your business but it depends on a whole range of factors.  That’s why a few thousand dollars spent on ad testing in advance of your campaign is probably a worthwhile investment.  Annoying as research can be.