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Are Irritating Television Advertisements better than Agreeable Ones?

Updated on February 3, 2012


It is a moot point as to whether irritating television advertisements are sometimes better than agreeable ones. There are two different schools of thought on the matter. One says that people remember the irritating advertisements and the other believes that infuriating advertisements may make consumers rebel and buy competitors products.

Many irritating television advertisements have annoying jingles, and it is not surprising that many products aimed at children have irritating jingles and cutesy cartoon characters or characters designed to appeal to children. Children, even children too young to read, learn to associate the jingle and character with the product. Toddlers recognize the symbol of a fast food chain from amongst other shops easily because they associate the symbol with the character in the television advertisement.

Some advertisements such as those for price comparison sites do the same thing for adults. If a poll were taken amongst any group of British television viewers about how they would compare prices the majority would name two particular price comparison web sites, because both companies have recently run very annoying television advertisements. How many, of those who named the two web sites, would use either site, though, is debatable.

Advertisements where people shout at potential customers upset British people. The British are rather restrained, not exuberant like Americans. Brits rarely shout and do not expect other people to shout at them. To the British, advertising should persuade rather than hector or bully customers into buying a company’s goods. In the British character, there is a rebelliousness, which is why British satire and parody has always been so biting; politicians have ignored this rebelliousness at their own peril. Companies who try to bully and hector consumers into buying their goods may frustrate their purpose by annoying consumers so much, that they will deliberately shun the company’s products.

Two British clothing companies launched very provocative television advertising campaigns, in theUnited Kingdom, in the nineteen nineties. One used images of teenaged models wearing only underwear and the other used graphic images of blood and gore, both these campaigns occasioned many complaints to the Advertising Standards Agency, theUKregulatory body in theUnited Kingdomand were pulled very quickly. However, these advertisements upset the buying public and both companies reported a fall in sales as a result.

In the end, the most effective television advertisements are the ones that customers remember the most fondly and the ones that they connect with the product. Irritating and annoying advertisements deter many customers from buying the companies products. Surely, the aim of any advertising, especially costly television advertising, is to encourage customers to buy more products.


Submit a Comment

  • Mercia Collins profile imageAUTHOR

    Mercia Collins 

    6 years ago from United Kingdom

    Some TV advertisements annoy me intensely and I would not buy the product advertised even if it were the only brand, I would rather do without.

    Some TV advertisements these days are so obtuse that one cannot understand what on earth the company is advertising.

  • ib radmasters profile image

    ib radmasters 

    6 years ago from Southern California


    I also did a hub on TV ads but from the American Perspective. It didn't garner much attention.

    My point was not based on the tone of the commercial as is the focus of your hub. Mine was based on why would a commercial compel a person to actually buy a product advertised on TV?

    I excluded food, and infommercials because they have some impulse appeal.

    The rest of the products that are advertised seem to use an abstract or fantasy approach to selling their products.

    It is the exception to the rule, that I would find any interest in buying a product or brand that I wouldn't normally buy just based on a TV commercial.

    I wonder how many people buy things just because they see it on TV. The are many millions of sheep in the world that impersonate humans. With them I guess it would be possible to compel them to buy advertised products just by showing something shiny.

    For your hub, remembering a product would come from simple repetition. For example, phone numbers that are repeated three time during a commercial have a good chance of being remembered by the viewer.

    The tone of the commercial would have a following of people when it is irritating or friendly. Of course they would be different types of people.

    Animals play a big part in many commercials but they really don't add to the worth of the product. Yet many people will gravitate to their cuteness and associate it with the product.


  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Correct - awareness does not equal sales. Sales are a function of household penetration and buy rate, so typically marketing strategy would be geared to whatever will increase penetration, frequency, or both...depending on the marketing strategy. Awareness serves as a brand equity builder and/or a tactic to help keep you top of mind among your consumers. There is lots of clutter and as I mention here, there are different approaches to driving awareness so that you can break through the clutter (i.e.: violator, cross-promote, etc.)

    Hope this helps,


  • Mercia Collins profile imageAUTHOR

    Mercia Collins 

    6 years ago from United Kingdom

    awareness of the ad does not mean that people will actually buy it. I am of the fraternity that, if the advertisement annoys me, I will not buy the product. There is an advertisement on UK TV that shouts and were I shopping for that product they would be the last company on earth that I would patronize. Thank-you for your comment emarketingfreak

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Hell all - I just want to comment on jpcmc's comment. The main objective of ads is not necessarily retention. It really just depends on the marketing strategy of that given product. Retention is typically achieved through discounts, rewarding purchase behavior, etc. TV ads are definitely not retention geared. In fact, TV is typically to drive awareness. I was a sr. marketing manager on brands such as Hot Wheels, Campbell's Soup, and Pepsi - so I can tell you this from my experience.

    Check out my blog when you get a chance:

  • Mercia Collins profile imageAUTHOR

    Mercia Collins 

    6 years ago from United Kingdom

    Thank-you for your comment jpcmc, yes it is indeed horses for courses.

  • jpcmc profile image

    JP Carlos 

    6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

    The main objective of ads is retention. Unfortunately, people react differently to ads. Some would see irritating ads as, well, irritating and would rather change channels. The key is to actually get the ads into time slots that they think represents their targt niche.


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