How’s The Economy? Take A Look At Who’s Clipping Coupons These Days.

Dennis Ryan, OLSON, advertising

A recent study from Harris Interactive commissioned by found that rising food costs have the vast majority of us actively employing grocery savings strategies.

Given the economy these past few years, that’s hardly news.

What is news is that consumers in higher income brackets have become particularly active about using additional saving strategies, specifically coupon clipping.

Of the 95% of Americans who said they plan to take active steps, 72% of them will do it through coupons, followed closely by  comparison shopping for unit price (71%) and seeking out discount grocery stores (66%).

But what’s really amazing is that the study finds higher income adults are far more likely to cut back than lower income earners. Families that earn between $75 and $100,000 range adopted these changes at demonstrably higher levels: 81% use coupons vs 63%, 88% compare unit price vs 61%.

Unfortunately for national packaged goods marketers, experts expect food prices to continue rising throughout the year, making the grocery store a brutal proving ground for the strength and value of a brand.

When your most dependable label shoppers start looking to cut costs, your brand’s assets better extend far beyond the lowest common denominator of ‘good value.’


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON


Let The Blatant Manipulation Begin!

Thanks to the good folks at AdweekMedia and Harris Interactive, we now have scientific quantification as to what images most “tug at the heartstrings” of potential customers.

Of course, you already know what they are.  Witness…

Dennis Ryan, Chicago Advertising, Element 79

Babies and Puppies: the can’t-miss, one-two punch of emotional manipulation.  According to the pollsters, at this point, the total number of women feeling the tug will be 8% greater than the total number of men.

And some people think advertising research isn’t insightful…


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


Exercises in Obviousness: Harris Interactive Determines Bad Online Advertising Frustrates People

The "O" Stands for "Obvious"     

The “O” Stands for “Obvious”

Last week, the online market research people at Harris Interactive released their latest findings in a pdf titled “LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll.”   In findings that will come as a surprise to no one who has ever spent more than ten seconds on the Yahoo! home page, consumers find many aspect of the burgeoning world of internet advertising frustrating.  They resent expanding banners, page takeovers, and video windows without the option to close or skip.  And now the Harris Interactive people have the quantitative results to prove it.

But this is far from news.  Bad is bad, whether it’s bad television, bad product design, or bad recipes for zucchini.  Advertising is no different: to really engage people, it must prove useful or interesting or surprising.  Generally speaking, people recoil at obnoxious behavior.  And uninvited page takeovers qualify as obnoxious behavior.  Too many advertisers believe silly stunts like sending bouncing balls careening from a small space out over the entire home page constitutes innovation, as if unaware that animation has been around since the late 19th century.

Pointlessly interrupting people is rude.  Wasting peoples’ time is rude.  If you are an uninvited drop-in stranger, I’m not gonna open my front door.  However, if you are an uninvited drop-in stranger lugging an inflatable castle and offering free bouncing for the kids, I might open up a bit.  Because that’s a lot of fun.  Marketing works the exact same way, on or off line.

Essentially, this poll confirms a hypothesis most people in marketing should already consider painfully obvious.  It takes great creative wherewithal to escape the bonds of mediocrity, but that’s the goal.  Every day. In every medium.  

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79