As you sit down in front of your TV with your favorite drink in hand, be prepared for an hour of TV to really last only 40 minutes – the rest will be taken up with advertisements. A one hour primetime broadcast network program now contains 18 to 21 minutes of commercials. The average commercial now runs between 5 seconds and 120 seconds. However, most commercials run only 15 seconds upward to 30 seconds. So if we do the simple math, 20 minutes of commercial time could actually be at least 40 different product or service offerings. And who advertises the most on TV? In case you wondered, the auto industry advertises the most followed closely by the pharmaceutical industry.
So you shut off the TV and turn on the radio to get a break from the incessant commercials. Radio advertising is not much better. The average hour of broadcasting now contains anywhere from 9 minutes up to 20 minutes of advertising. Stations sell many 60 second spots but the most popular airtimes sold are in short blocks of 30 second, 15 second, ten and two second intervals.
Now you get up to refresh your drink and the telephone rings. It is naturally a telemarketer. Telemarketers make a total of 8 billion calls annually or about 100 per household. There are thousands of telemarketing companies in the United States. It is a $15 billion dollar industry. Yes, there is a Do-Not-Call list but violations are commonplace and there is no regulation if your telemarketing operation is offshore. So if the gentleman that calls you trying to sell you replacement windows sounds like he may be from India, he probably is.
Now the mail person just drops about 25 letters, brochures, and cards in your mail chute. You reach down and pick up this massive block of mail. You suddenly realize that you are now the recipient of a small portion of the 90 million direct mail letters and brochures that are sent out each year. The direct marketing industry now totals over $153.3 billion dollars employing 1.4 million direct marketing representatives. Their collective sales efforts directly supports another 8.4 million other jobs.
We as Americans are being overwhelmed by the current marketing efforts going on in the United States. Nothing is sacred. Your time and privacy mean nothing. For many firms that outsource their marketing, it is just not worth the effort to purge their mailing lists. It is easier to just keep adding to the list regardless if you have moved, died, or left the country. My son left Michigan in 2006. He at one time had purchased some jewelry from a local firm. Every Christmas Holiday I get books, brochures and advertisements from this local jeweler. I have tried repeatedly to have the mailings stopped but have been unsuccessful. Not only didn’t I buy anything from the local jeweler, but they got my name as it matched his last name and therefore everything was switched over to me.
It seems that charities come out of the woodwork during the Holidays. Yes, that is true. At least 41% of the $298.4 billion dollars that charities receive in the United States each year are received during the last six weeks of the year. It is not uncommon for the average household to receive at least a dozen solicitations especially if you have given to any charity in the past year. Yes, charities do buy and sell mailing lists. There is even an organization called Charity Base that is well known for its comprehensive lists and databases about individual and corporate donors.
I wish there was an easy answer to the deluge of marketing and solicitations that bombard Americans at this time of the year. New targets are now cellular telephones and iPads. Unless there is some form of government intervention, the marketing efforts will continue unabated.