March 04, 2009

Research Proves Advertising Makes You Happier

Working in advertising may be a living hell, but apparently viewing it is a little slice of heaven.

At least that's what an article in The New York Times reported yesterday. They quoted two new research studies that claim to prove that advertising actually improves peoples' enjoyment of television.
"In one experiment... New York University, had 87 undergraduates watch an episode of the sitcom “Taxi.” Half watched it as it was originally broadcast, with commercials.... The other half watched the show straight through, without commercials.

"After the show was over, the students rated how much they enjoyed it... those who saw the original show (with commercials)...preferred “Taxi” by a significant margin.
"...In similar experiments, using other video clips and a variety of interruptions, the results were the same: people rated their experiences as more enjoyable with commercials...

“The punch line is that commercials make TV programs more enjoyable to watch. Even bad commercials,” said Leif Nelson, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of California, San Diego, and a co-author of the new research. “When I tell people this, they just kind of stare at me, in disbelief. "
Maybe that's the secret of happiness -- stop making it and start watching it.

Here's something else from the article to chew on:
"...researchers who study consumer behavior argue that interrupting an experience...can make it significantly more intense."
I wonder what this does to the pop marketing theory that "interruption" is dead and "permission" is the new Holy Grail?

Shout out to Michael Gass for calling this article to my attention.

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