Compare The Market Cillit Bang Hive

Go Compare comes first in UK's most annoying ad top ten list


By John McCarthy | Opinion editor

January 24, 2015 | 3 min read

Recent research has uncovered the ads the UK public finds the most annoying in a list populated by annoying jingles, silly voices and intolerable brand mascots.

The data was collected from 1,600 UK consumers in a study undertaken by Toluna and commissioned by the Car Buying Service.

On why adverts can run viewers the wrong way, Dr Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas, course leader of BA fashion marketing at London College of Fashion, said: "As humans, we receive an incredible amount of information to process. Businesses make this process easier for us by building brands with values and associations – as well as repetitive, catchy and sometimes annoying adverts. In this way simply by getting our attention, these annoying ads may succeed.

"If consumers are annoyed because they feel an ad is not representing them or is in poor taste then it is likely to have a negative effect. And with the power of social media they can let the brand – and the world – know."

Radclyffe-Thomas concluded: "However, even annoying ads and negative customer reaction can be flipped if brands are clever in how they respond to the criticism, and acknowledge possible errors of judgment; this approach is likely to bring consumers on board when they feel their views have listened to and validated.”

Check out the top ten most annoying adverts below - if you dare.

10. Hive: Active Heating (2014)

9. Boots: Here Come the Girls (2007)

8. WeBuyAnyCar: Hard House Theme (2009)

7. Hotels4u: Anything for You Cupcake (2013)

6. Halifax: ISA ISA Baby (2010)

5. Compare the Market: Compare the Meerkat (2009)

4. Gladstone Brookes: PPI Compensation (2014)

3. Cillit Bang: Barry Scott (2007)

2. Wonga: Puppets (2012)

1. Go Compare: Go Compaaaaaare, Go Compaaaaaare! (2009)

Dr Haiming Hang, associate professor of marketing and the University of Bath, believes adverts can be annoying the companies behind them use outdated ideas to market their products.

Hang said: “One of the common features of these ads is that they are very repetitive. This is partly because advertisers assume brand awareness is the key to make consumers purchase. However, recent research clearly suggests advertising makes a stronger emotional and behavioural impact when consumers are paying less conscious attention to them.”

“You’ll probably have noticed that more and more brands are releasing ads that ‘tell a story’, such as the John Lewis ‘Monty the penguin’. Nowadays, we tend to like ads that engage us emotionally, rather than simply pummelling us with the brand name over the course of 30 seconds.”

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