Washington, Nov 4 : People often tend to fast forward and skip past advertisements while watching a movie on DVD players, however, a new study has found that fast-forwarding viewers actually pay more attention and can be influenced by brand images they view only for a fraction of a second.
The study led by Carroll School of Management researchers have found that brands can stand out as viewers skim ads with TiVo and DVRs.
Ads with brand information placed in the centre of the screen still create brand memory despite a 95pct reduction in frames viewed and complete loss of audio.
"In the age of DVRs, advertisers who place their brands anywhere outside the centre of the viewing screen do so at their own brand peril," said Adam Brasel, assistant professor of marketing at Carroll School of Management.
"Even in fast forward, consumers can focus in on a product logo or brand and that fraction of a second can later influence their preferences," he added.
Brasel said that everybody believes that TV advertising is doomed - TiVo has broken it and DVR will kill it.
But the researchers have found that fast-forwarded commercials containing extensive central brand information can even have a positive effect on a consumer's brand attitude, behavioural intent and actual choice behaviour,.
The findings show that marketers can counteract the impact of DVRs by ensuring their ads are heavily branded and the branding is centrally located.
Brasel said when a viewer hits fast forward, he or she only sees about 1 out of every 24 frames, reducing brand ID to a little less than a third of a second out of a 30-second spot.
But the speed of the play-back removes visual cues and motion that attract attention to brand images that lay along the periphery of the TV screen. Instead, television watchers concentrate on the centre of the screen.
During the study, the researchers created a pair of mock commercials for two British chocolate bar brands. One was heavily branded, the other lightly branded.
After the research subjects had viewed the content and were preparing the leave the lab, they were invited to choose one of the candy bars. Subjects chose the heavily branded bar twice as often as the lightly branded bar.
"We created a massive shift in behaviour from a commercial lasting just over one second, it's clear that just because an ad is being fast-forwarded, doesn't mean it is a wasted ad," said Brasel.
The study appears in the November edition of the Journal of Marketing.