Advertising clutter is a term used to refer to the very high volume of advertising people are exposed to on a daily basis. It can be difficult for advertisers to cut through the clutter to reach potential consumers. New methods of advertising are constantly being developed in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve in the advertising world. Innovative and aggressive approaches to advertising are expected from most advertising agencies as it can be difficult to reach people with conventional means.
The number of individual messages people are exposed to on a given day varies, but generally people hear advertisements on the radio, see them on television and in print publications, interact with them online, and sometimes receive them in their mailboxes. Many of these contacts are very brief. Consumers can be overwhelmed by the volume of advertising material they see every day and ads that rise above the clutter will stand out.
Viral marketing is one technique for escaping advertising clutter, as is guerrilla marketing. People can also combat advertising clutter while still using traditional media and advertising techniques by being creative about how their ads are developed and presented. As advertisers adapt to the development of new approaches to advertising, more clutter develops, and they are forced to invent different methods for reaching consumers.
Understanding the role of advertising clutter in the way consumers engage with advertising is important. People developing ad campaigns must think about issues like clutter and how to reach their target demographic. Researchers study the way different groups of people interact with advertising and take note of ads that stand out in given demographics, using this information in the development of advertising strategies. Failure to research a particular demographic well and find out how to reach that demographic can have costly consequences for advertisers, such as campaigns that flop when released into the marketplace.
In addition to being a problem for marketers trying to reach their customers, advertising clutter is also a topic of research by people in other fields. Some sociologists and psychologists are interested in the way advertising shapes social attitudes, and they examine advertising clutter to learn more about how advertising contributes to the way people think, act, and behave. It is also an aesthetic concern in some regions, as seen in cities where some forms of advertising, such as billboards, have been restricted in the interest of keeping communities more beautiful.