Disadvantages of Television Advertising

Television advertising does have some disadvantages as well. Some of the limitations of television advertising are:

  • Costs: Though television offers unsurpassed creativity and reaches large audiences, it is an expensive medium to advertise. Besides the high cost of media time, the cost of producing good quality commercials is quite high. Besides the airtime costs, considerable costs were involved in producing that the commercial. Even local ads can be expensive to produce and often are not of high quality. High costs associated with TV advertising discourage small budget companies.
  • Lack of Selectivity: Advertisers, who are interested in delivering their message to a very specific, narrowly defined, often small, target audience, find that TV leads to overexposure, reducing its cost effectiveness. For example, it would be difficult to reach only a particular group in the entire population. Any TV commercial is bound to extend far beyond the target audience. Though, advertisers are attempting to improve selectivity, yet TV still does not offer as much selectivity as radio. magazines, newspapers and direct mail.
  • Short-lived Message: Most TV commercials last for 30 seconds or less and just about a single sales appeal can be presented in this duration. Besides, nothing tangible is left for the audience to examine or consider. The commercial appears to be a fleeting moment in time. Commercials are becoming shorter and shorter because of the increasing demand for a limited amount of broadcast time. Increasing media costs are forcing advertisers to consider shorter commercials as the only way to keep their media costs in line. Advertisers think that by-using shorter commercials they can manage additional spots to reinforce the message or reach a larger audience. Many of them even believe that shorter commercials can deliver an ad message just as effectively as the longer ones at a considerably reduced cost.
  • Clutter: A commercial may face trouble being noticed for a number of reasons such as fleeting messages, shorter commercials, non-programme material presented during commercial break and because the advertiser’s message is only one of many other spots. For any TV programme, the number of viewers decreases during commercial breaks. If the number of commercials increases, the viewership decreases for the duration. Advertisers are more interested in placing their commercials during popular TV programmes leading to insertion of many short duration spots and causing more clutter. It is easy to understand why the viewer gets confused or often annoyed and unable to recall or clearly identify the advertised product or service.
  • Limited Attention by Viewers: Buying time on television does not guarantee exposure. It only offers the advertiser an opportunity to communicate the ad message to a large number of audiences. As already mentioned, the size of the programme viewing audience decreases during a commercial break. Viewers move away from the TV set for one or the other reason to avoid seeing commercials. With the increase in the number of commercials, getting the audience to pay attention is becoming an increasingly powerful challenge. Audience members find themselves comfortably armed with remote controls that make zapping and zipping convenient. (Zapping refers to changing channels to avoid commercials. Zipping refers to fast forwarding through commercials as they appear when viewing a previously recorded movie or some other programme.) Some advertisers are of the opinion that producing different executions of a campaign theme may succeed in holding viewers’ attention. Others maintain that the most effective way to combat zapping and zipping is to produce creative advertising messages that will attract and arrest the audience’s attention. At best, these approaches seem nothing more than wishful thinking because an increasing number of audience members seem to be developing an aversion toward an ever ­ increasing onslaught of commercials. People primarily watch television because of its entertainment value and not because they want to be bombarded by commercials.
  • Negative evaluation: Many critics consider TV commercials as being intrusive and consumers are defenseless against the bombardment of ads. TV viewers are in no position to exercise any control on the transmission of message and what becomes visible on their screens. Many people generally distrust TV commercials more than other forms of advertising.

Credit: Marketing Management-MGU

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