Study: Bad Ads Lead to Bad Sex (And Why Brands Should Care)

Americans are fed up with the pervasive, persistent presence of bad advertising in their daily lives, and are sick of the constant interruptions to their web surfing, online shopping, and…um…their sex lives? 

InsightsOne, a company dedicated to predictive intelligence solutions enabled by big data, recently announced the findings of its 2013 Bad Ads Survey conducted online by Harris Interactive. The study found that 83% of respondents felt bad ads actually get in the way of their daily activities:

  • Web surfing – 51%
  • Online shopping – 37%
  • Working – 20%
  • Having Sex – 19%
  • Sleeping – 13%

So what sort of ads are they talking about?

While we might expect email spam and junk mail to top consumers’ pet peeve lists, it turns out that almost as many Americans are annoyed by website ad spam (52%) as by email spam/sidebar ads (55%). Postal junk mail actually ranked fifth (37%), behind television ads (60%), email spam/sidebar ads, website ads, and ads on social media (37%).

The study also looked at which specific types of ads get under our skin the most:

  •  Pop-up ads – 70%
  • Lottery scams – 70%
  • Male enhancement ads – 66%
  • Emails from deceased African leaders who have left them money – 64%
  • Ads for products and services they do not need – 58%
  • Female enhancement ads – 54%

So what do these results actually mean for brands and companies? The survey showed that Americans will ignore a company completely if they send too many bad ads (23% after just one ad, 43% after two). And when really fed up, (lack of sex will do that), consumers even admit to boycotting a company completely.

Waqar Hasan, CEO of InsightsOne had this to say about the weight of these findings:

 “While the results of the study may seem amusing, they point to a real concern in American life. People are fed up with seeing ads and other communications that aren’t relevant to them as individuals…[they] are tired of companies that appear to not respect or understand their needs…consumers have a real limit on what they’re willing to put up with, and this very real problem will have a negative impact on a company’s income statement if they don’t do something about it.”

We think that sums it up quite well and serves to support what we find ourselves saying all the time: listen to your customers. It may seem over-simplified, but it’s pretty clear that many brands and advertisers tend to lose focus on the customer in pursuit of visibility.

The only piece of advice we’ll add is for those on the receiving end of the ads: when you get that lovin’ feelin’, turn off the TV and close the laptop — we’re pretty sure pop-up ads don’t have the ability to bust through your bedroom door and jump on the bed like an ill-timed child…at least not yet.


Publish date: April 16, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT