Monday, March 2, 2009

Are Ads all around us?

I read somewhere the other day that we are bombarded with up to 3000 ads everyday! Since there has been so much talk lately about the mass consumerism of America I found it to be an interesting statistic and decided to do some simple research of my own.

I had five magazines come in the mail last week; Cosmo, Good housekeeping, Family Fun, Cookie, and Redbook – all their March publications. I went through each magazine and categorized each page as either content, Ad, or product placement.

Here is how I judged each page.
Content: Any story, letter to the editor, picture associated with text, and reader submissions.
Ad: Any Ad, or extra ad picture, medical text, or classifieds
Product Placement: Any page where a certain product or products are the only highlighted item.
And trust me I was very fair to each magazine when I counted.
Here’s how they stacked up

Good Housekeeping:
Content Pages: 103
Ad Pages: 71
Product Pages: 17
% Content: 54%
% Ads: 37%
% Product: 9%

Content Pages: 87
Ad Pages: 81
Product Pages: 19
% Content: 46.5%
% Ads: 43%
% Product: 10%

Family Fun:
Content Pages: 70
Ad Pages: 55
Product Pages: 6
% Content: 53%
% Ads: 42%
% Product: 4.5%

Content Pages: 53
Ad Pages: 54
Product Pages: 32
% Content: 38%
% Ads: 39%
% Product: 23%

Content Pages: 100
Ad Pages: 102
Product Pages: 105
% Content: 43%
% Ads: 44%
% Product: 13%

The highs and lows:
Most Content Pages: Good Housekeeping – 54%
Most Ad Pages: Cosmo – 44%
Most Product pages: Cookie – 23%

Least Content Pages: Cookie – 38%
Least Ad Pages: Good Housekeeping – 37%
Least Product Pages: Family Fun – 4.5%

The Averages:
Content Pages: 47%
Ad Pages: 41%
Product Pages: 12%
Ad and Product pages: 53%

So just from these numbers this “myth” might be true. On average over 40% of magazine content we see is an advertisement of some sort. That number rises to over 50% when we include product place pages (which I honestly believe product pages are just another form of ad).

Kind of makes you look at magazines in a new light, especially if you pay for your subscriptions. You’re basically paying for tree killing commercials. It’s especially eye opening for those of us trying to limit our consumerism and get back to the basics.