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September 20, 2021

How advertisers target consumers in the post-recession world

If nothing else, commercials are a good way to gauge demographics.

Stock-photo-15440490-dart-target-icon On Spike TV, meant for dudes looking for answers to questions like these, we see ads for Axe body spray and fantasy football. On daytime TV, tailored to stay-at-home moms, we see ads for bleach pens and dishwasher tabs. On the Masters telecast, watched by old men on Sundays, we see ads for Cialis and luxury hybrids.

So what can we tell about the world from today’s television ads?

According to a new report, consumers are concerned about three things these days: banking, financial investments and car insurance.

By numbers from media research firm Nielsen, advertisers have ramped up spending in a big way this year on the above three categories, signalling consumers, still burned by the downturn, are more interested in saving cash than they’ve been in a long time.

*Bing: What non-Super Bowl TV program costs the most for advertisers?

In the first half of 2011, the highest advertising increases in the U.S. were automobile insurance (up 25 per cent from the first half of 2010 to $955 million, from $766 million), bank services (up 24 per cent to $566 million, from $457 million) and financial investment services (up 19 per cent to $550 million, from $463 million).

“The theme that I see here is that they are all financially-oriented categories,” Randall Beard, the global head of advertiser solutions for Nielsen, told the New York Times.

“People are very interested in saving money, getting the best possible deals and making sure their financial situation is as strong as it can be.”

Of course, there’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation going on here. Are consumers really more interested in saving money, or are advertisers merely ramming the themes down their throat? What’s come first, consumers’ desire to save or advertisers’ insistence that they should be?

Whatever the case, such ad numbers are merely the latest headline in the grim, ongoing post-recession epilogue.

And the theme of that postscript? Consumers don’t really know how to save on their own. Now, if we’re ever going to turn this economy around, we need help.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...