In 1971, Herb Simon said:

What does an abundance of information create? Basically a scarcity of attention.

And the interesting thing about the quote below from Samuel Johnson was that it was written in 1751. So, one hundred and fifty years ago, people were complaining that there were too many ads in the world.

A study out today shows what happens when we place ads everywhere, without context or relevance to the audience. Now, I know that they're writing to be excited about the data, but let's look at what it really means. With ad networks and video content almost everywhere we go, 70% of the people surveyed didn't remember seeing any of it. 70%. And thirty percent only remembered that they saw something. Maybe they did ask about what they saw, but that's not listed here in the article. So, only 30% of people surveyed about a completely ubiquitous form of advertising remember seeing something in the last 30 days.

I think the mall stats are pretty frightening. I haven't been to a mall lately without there being digital screens everywhere and if 85% of the people aren't seeing them at all, then it would seem to me that's a pretty big fail. Same thing for doctors offices. I was just at an appointment with my wife and they had a screen right in the center of the waiting room. I don't know how anyone could miss it. Come to think of it, I can't remember if it was on or not. And that was about 2 weeks ago and I'm in the business!

For years I've been telling people that you need to create compelling, authentic and relevant brand experiences to connect with todays audiences. But it's easier to just repurpose existing content and slap it up wherever we can. And, since this is one of my soap box items, we keep talking about the consumer being in control while looking for advertising that they can't turn off. Folks, we can't have it both ways. I wrote this in 2006:

So, let’s once again be clear about this. Advertising based on the fact that you can’t turn it off IS NOT A GOOD ADVERTISING MEDIUM. That’s what got the industry into the situation we’re in now. People don’t like continually being force-fed advertising.

You don’t build a relationship with anyone when you start by talking about the fact that they can’t avoid you. You can’t think reach and frequency and relationship building at the same time. They usually, in fact, work against each other.

When we just place content, without thinking through context and relevancy, it seems pretty clear that we create something that a big hunk of the audience ignores. When I did the NewsBreaker Live game a few years back, we scored 80%+ who played the game and 70% unaided recall. That's because people enjoyed the game and we created the right context. Going to the cinema is a social experience, as was playing a group game. In fact, when we did it in the UK, people enjoyed the entire movie going experience if they played the game first.

Not to mention that right now, lots of folks have a digital signage network in their pockets, thanks to their smart phones. With augmented reality, QR codes and bar code readers on the phones, we should be looking for ways to deliver more relevant content. But again, it's easier to just repurpose content we already have then it is to create something that would potentially be of more value to the consumer.

Don’t we understand that the reason brands are seeing a decline in the effectiveness of TV advertising is that we don’t like ads interrupting everything we do? If you’re involved in putting together one of these in-store networks, ask yourself: How many of your friends, not in the advertising business, have said to you—“Hey, can you put up lots of monitors in your store and run commercials on them?” My guess is not that many.

Where does “create a better experience” fall on your list of reasons to install a digital network? My guess is that the top spots are occupied by “increase revenue” or “create opportunities to promote partners” and somewhere further down the line is create a better retail experience. And even when it’s on the list, my guess is that few people have actually defined how it will create a better experience for the consumer.

So, stop what you’re doing right now and look at your experience first. If it doesn’t create a truly better experience for your audience first, you’re not doing it right.

Newly released survey data from GfK MRI confirm the popular wisdom that consumers can run but they can't hide from advertising. Thirty percent of respondents said they'd seen a "place-based" video ad in the 30 days before being queried.

Stores were the venue in which respondents to the polling (conducted this past spring) were likeliest to have encountered video advertising within that 30-day period, with 19 percent saying they'd done so.

Other places registering in double digits were shopping malls (15 percent), restaurants (11 percent) and medical offices (11 percent). Slightly fewer reported seeing video ads within the 30-day period in bars/pubs (9 percent), airports (8 percent) or gyms/health clubs (7 percent). As GfK MRI says in its analysis of the data, the percentages translate into a total of 67.4 million adults who saw video ads in these locations.

Seeing Video Ads Everywhere.

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