Older Canadians say ads aren’t relevant

The majority of Canadian consumers find today's advertising relevant, although responses differ significantly by age and province inhabited, according to the latest Strategy/Decima Poll.

The majority of Canadian consumers find today’s advertising relevant, although responses differ significantly by age and province inhabited, according to the latest Strategy/Decima Poll.

When asked the question ‘Would you say that today’s advertising is relevant to you as a consumer?’ 55.1% of 2,000 Canadians responded in the affirmative, compared to 40.6% who replied negatively. But when you break that down by age, you find that younger consumers were much more likely to agree: 64% of 18-to-24s and 61% of 25-to-34s answered yes, while 54.5% of 45-to-54s and only 47.2% of the 55+ cohort did the same.

That’s statistically significant, says Peggy Richardson-McKee, SVP at Toronto-based Decima Research, who thinks the responses are probably impacted by the fact that most marketers focus heavily on the youth demo. ‘[Marketers] are even targeting consumers who are younger than 12 years old, whereas people 55+ are not used to [being communicated to].’

A second question, which asked whether the quality of advertising improved in 2003 versus previous years, drew a similar response pattern: while 54.7% of 18-to-24s and 47.3% of 25-to-34s said yes, only 40.8% of 45-to-54s and 34.8% of those 55+ did so.

David Cravit, EVP of Boom Communications, a division of Toronto-based agency Padulo Integrated that specializes in marketing to the baby boomer generation, isn’t in the least surprised. ‘The marketing community is out to lunch…. They ignore the [consumers] with the most money and the most time to shop.’

According to Boom Communications, consumers over 50 control most of Canada’s wealth and discretionary income, yet are directly targeted by less than 5% of advertising.

Interestingly, higher-income consumers were least likely to agree with the statement that the quality of advertising improved in 2003. Only 37.9% of Canadians with household incomes of $100,000+ responded positively, compared to 46.3% of those with household incomes under $40,000. The percentages drop as incomes increase.

Meanwhile, advertising relevance also seems to vary by province: In Quebec, 46.6% of citizens consider advertising to be relevant, compared to 63% in Atlantic Canada and 60% in Ontario.

Decima conducted this poll on behalf of Strategy via its monthly telephone omnibus, for which data was collected from 2,000 consumers between Nov. 13 and 23. Each month a random sample is generated and quotas for each region are disproportionately allocated. The data is weighted in tabulation to replicate actual population distribution by age and sex within regions, according to census data.

For more information, contact Decima Research at (416) 962-2013.