Advertising fatigue – what is it really?

There is a lot of talk about advertising fatigue and one cannot overlook the different interpretations and definitions of the concept itself. Most often, advertising fatigue is described as a phenomenon that occurs when a person is exposed to an oversaturation of advertising messages, but the way to define the oversaturation can be several – everything from stopping watching the advertising to becoming negative about the advertising.

We at Novus did an experiment and asked 1000 randomly selected Swedes to explain what advertising fatigue is. Who better to explain the phenomenon than those who actually watch the commercials.

The answers were, in a way, quite predictable. When people become ad-weary, they may begin to ignore advertising messages, avoid advertising altogether, or even develop a negative attitude toward brands that advertise themselves.

But the most interesting thing was not how the Swedes define advertising fatigue. The most interesting thing was to see how many different factors trigger and contribute to advertising fatigue.

Here is the full list:

  • Too much advertising in relation to the amount of content
  • Too many commercial breaks
  • Too long commercial breaks
  • The commercial itself is too long
  • Too high frequency of the same advertisement
  • Ads popping up everywhere
  • Lack of variety – too many similar advertisements
  • The advertising is bad and laughable
  • Advertising is boring
  • The ad is too sad (for obviously playing on emotions)
  • The advertising is excessive or disturbing
  • The advertising lacks grounding in reality
  • The advertising is not perceived as credible
  • Overexposure to the same advertising message

Our small study leaves us with more questions than answers and the biggest question is how do advertising environments and advertising need to develop in order for advertisers to be able to create impact in the future?

We are investigating further. To be continued.


Ieva Englund  

Novus Client Development Advisor

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