Historically, marketers have turned to cute babies and puppies when creating ads. And as technology has advanced, marketers have been employing newer techniques to grab consumer attention. One currently popular tool is animation. Marketers are finding great benefits when using animation but the format has one big drawback – it doesn’t generate high recall.
Marketers like ad animation because it cuts costs. There are no expensive actors to pay. And producers don’t have to wait for perfect weather to shoot an ad on location. However, when Nielsen researchers surveyed consumers 24 hour after an ad was viewed, problems with animation became apparent. Consumers who viewed ads with live-action had a 22% higher recall rate than consumers who saw an animation-only ad. The survey also revealed a significant gender difference. Women who saw the live-action ad had a 27% higher recall rate. For men, the higher rate of recall was 17%. In addition, older consumers, those between the ages of 35–49, had a 24% better recall rate when they viewed live action ads.
Animation has also frustrated consumers who view online ads. A Harris Interactive poll published last year found that 60% of consumers object to animated ads that automatically play when a web page loads.
But as consumers grow accustomed to animation techniques, marketers may find they can use this strategy to their advantage. For example, the Nielsen survey found that younger consumers, those between the ages of 13 and 35, recalled live action ads at only 11% higher than animation ads. This group of consumers may well continue to show a good recall rate of animated ads as they age.
Researchers also found a slight advantage in one product category when it came to recall rates. Marketers who sell food ingredients and seasonings experienced a 28% higher brand recall for animated ads. Maybe the Pillsbury Dough Boy has made inroads into the consciousness of America’s grocery shoppers. That bump did not extend to personal care products though. The recall rates for animated ads in that category were markedly lower than for those with live action.[Sources: LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll. HarrisInteractive.com. 22 Jul. 2009. Web. 14 Dec. 2010; Should Marketers Re-think animated TV Ads During the Holidays? Blog.nielsen.com. 30 Nov. 2010. Web. 13 Dec. 2010]