Recency More Important Than Frequency, Use Doughnuts
With short attention spans and fingers on the TiVo skip button, consumers are increasing resistant to the old, and thankfully dying, model of effective frequency. While higher frequency was once thought of as an effective means to drill a message into the skull of an unsuspecting consumer, that approach has given way to recency - or the strategy of placing a single ad impression in front of the consumer at the moment of purchase decision.
A recent study by InsightExpress found most people, when using a TiVo-like device, will watch commercials they have not seen before but will blast through those they recognize within the first few seconds. While it is costly to produce multiple versions of a television commercial, this finding points to an additional use of the commercial "doughnut" or the practice of producing one commercial with several versions one portion of the commercial. Assuming most DVR users will zap past what they've seen before, moving the "doughnut" to the front of the spot might have some benefit in retaining ad viewership.