Thursday, September 3, 2009
Living in an age of distraction
One of the reasons why advertisers have shifted away from traditional approaches to advertising and traditional advertising mediums is because consumers—particularly young ones—are so distracted. One source of that distraction is the simultaneous use of multiple media, what is commonly referred to as multitasking. Media research firm Nielsen confirms in a recent study that, indeed, more than half of American consumers use the Internet and tune into television at the same time. This is nothing to celebrate in my opinion, as each of these mediums “utilizes” the human brain in different ways: television relaxes the brain; and computer use stimulates the brain. While I recognize that many consumers are consuming multiple media simultaneously, I’m not sure—over the long term—how this affects brain development. A couple of years ago I did a study on this phenomenon and the findings suggest that consumers find it very difficult to “get,” that is understand, advertising messages when they are multitasking with multiple media. You can read the study here. So the fact that 57% of us are engaged in this behavior is not good news for advertisers. Living in an age of distraction does not make life any easier.