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A (very, very slightly) Scientific Study of Brand Recall in the Average Consumer


Last Sunday I counted the number of ads I saw in a day. The number came to 1,033. I wanted to wait a little while before I tried to recall them, just to see what stuck out and what didn’t. This is what stuck out:

  1. The Ford logo on the Cricket score popup TV thing (but only because I blogged about it)
  2. The 3 logos on the Australian players chests (paging Dr Freud)
  3. Emirates was mentioned somewhere
  4. BMW,
  5. Mini,
  6. and Lexus signage on the various car dealerships near work, although, I may only remember them because I see them every day
  7. Visa signs on shop windows in the mall. I can’t visualise Mastercard signage, although I know it was there
  8. Some posters for an event, but only because I took a photo of them, even then, I can’t remember the event’s name
  9. There was a radio ad for those people who promise longer lasting censored, but I don’t know who they are without looking them up, and even then, I was only interested because of the billboard fracas (no, really)
  10. There was probably a KFC ad on the cricket, but I can only vaguely recall it.

That’s all. I’m racking my brains, but seriously, that’s all.

Total brand recall: 1%

Total relevance of those ads I do recall to me

  1. I won’t ever buy a Ford, unless it’s a vintage Mustang. Relevance Score: 0
  2. I’m a happy (enough) Optus customer for now on a 24 month contract. I’m not switching to 3. Relevance Score: 0
  3. I’m not going anywhere overseas for a while, but I would definitely consider Emirates. Relevance Score: 1
  4. BMW, meh. I’ll buy one when I have children who won’t fit in a sports car. That will be a while. Relevance Score: 0.03
  5. Mini, meh. I’ll buy one when I’m a real estate agent. Relevance Score: 0.
  6. Lexus, meh. Relevance Score: 0
  7. Visa; I have one, don’t need another one and don’t see any difference between them and Mastercard. Relevance Score: 0
  8. Event posters I can’t name. Enough said. Relevance Score: 0
  9. Longer lasting censored; doing quite well thanks. Relevance Score: 0
  10. KFC. Would rather lick the floor outside a Brunswick Street kebab shop at 3am on a Saturday morning. Relevance Score: 0

Total relevance: 1.03/10

Add that up, and out of the 1,033 ads I saw that day, 1.03 of them were relevant. Which is, conveniently, 0.1%.

Very, Very Slightly Scientific Conclusion

The average consumer is exposed to around 1,000 ads a day. Out of those, only a handful, perhaps 1% will be remembered, and out of those, perhaps only 10% (0.1% of the total) will be relevant to that consumer. In other words, 99.9% of ads are irrelevant.

I can’t stress enough how unscientific this process has been, but surprisingly, the results have mirrored other slightly more scientific studies I have come across. Look out for more detailed results in Marketing Mag soon. In the meantime, start thinking of better ways to promote your product than advertising.

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2 Responses to A (very, very slightly) Scientific Study of Brand Recall in the Average Consumer

  1. Nathan Bush says:

    Is it saying something about you that you only remembered ads abouts cars, sex, technology, money, travel and food? I am going to start calling you Bond.

  2. Matt Moore says:

    The answer to no.9 is the Advanced Medical Institute. Their TV ads are some of the silliest I have ever seen. So silly that whilst their recall is high (their name is burnt into my memory in 50 foot letters of horror), they are the last people I would actually go to should I suffer from impotence* or premature ejaculation*.

    *Hypothetically speaking.

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