“The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.

The second time, they don’t notice it.

The third time, they are aware that it is there.

The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.

The fifth time, they actually read the ad.

The sixth time, they thumb their nose at it.

The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.

The eighth time, they start to think, ‘Here’s that confounded ad again.’

The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.

The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbours if they’ve tried it.

The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.

The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.

The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.

The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.

The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.

The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.

The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.

The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.

The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.

The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.”

— Successful Advertising by Thomas Smith

I came across the quote above while I was researching about effective frequency and think it describes the impact of the ad exposure very well. Although it does not state any reasons why this simple idea of marketing actually works but I still find it very true and relatable.

My grandmother, who spends many hours a day watching TV, always buys products from the ads that she had seen repeatedly. However, she never really uses any products that she has bought. I have always thought that my grandmother is the type of person that if she wants something regardless of whether she will use it or not, at least she has to buy it. This is possibly just for the sake of feelings that ‘unnecessary buying is better than not buying at all’. However, now, looking back at her consuming behaviour together with the quote above, it clearly shows that the number of times we are exposed to an ad does have a strong influence on us buying. I mean I probably am always influenced by the ads I see but I could not really say that I realise how significant the impact of ads has on my consuming behaviour, like I did with my grandmother’s. ;P

A Communication Design student based in Thailand