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Q: American advertising in the media ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: American advertising in the media
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: brophy-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 20 Aug 2002 17:25 PDT
Expires: 19 Sep 2002 17:25 PDT
Question ID: 56750
How many advertising messages (from all media sources) is the average
American exposed to on a daily basis?  This research will be sited in
a PowerPoint business presentation so it needs to come from a very
credible source.
Subject: Re: American advertising in the media
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 20 Aug 2002 23:07 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Brophy-ga,

Thank you for your question.

Consumers are exposed to hundreds of commercial messages per day in
one form or another -- from the boring, copy-laden radio commercial to
the easily skimmed, forgettable newspaper ad, and from the billboard
on the side of the bus to the logo on the side of the building.

My search returned the following results for the number of advertising
messages an average American is exposed to on a daily basis. The
source and corresponding links for the information I gathered are

“The average American is exposed to 247 commercial messages each day.”
Consumer Reports Website

According to Alf Nucifora, an Atlanta-based marketing consultant:

“Research tells us that the average American consumer is exposed to
more that 600 advertising messages a day in one form or another.”
The Business Journal Phoenix Website

In the article ”Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned
Scientists” by Michael Brower, PhD, and Warren Leon, PhD:

“The average American is exposed to about 3000 advertising messages a
day, and globally corporations spend over $620 billion each year to
make their products seem desirable and to get us to buy them.”
Union of Concerned Scientists Website

“A conservative estimate has the average American consumer exposed to
more than 850 commercial messages a day.”
Texas A&M University Digital Library

“If you're like most consumers, you have been the target of intrusive
marketing and a constant barrage of irrelevant advertising messages.
The average American sees over 3,000 advertising messages a day.
If you fill out a warranty card, get divorced, buy a home, get listed
in a school directory, enter a sweepstakes, purchase an item from a
catalog, file an insurance claim, or perform a myriad of other
everyday activities, some company somewhere makes a record of this
fact and sells it to marketers for profit.”
Superprofile Website

This was published in a column at The Newspaper Association of America

“Not too long ago, the average American was exposed to over three
thousand advertising messages in the average day. Today, you get that
many before breakfast! Everyone is trying to build a brand. This
season, the networks have added one more minute of commercials per
half-hour, and that is just the beginning. Have you seen the ads in
golf holes (talk about hidden persuaders), in bathroom stalls, on
grocery register receipts and even in the sand on the beach?"
Newspaper Association of America Website

Excerpts from the article “How Not to Fail at Your Marketing Or, Who's
fault is it, anyway?” by  Michael Lovas:

“The average American is targeted by 3000 messages per day. That
includes phone calls, e-mail, meetings, conversations. -- Data Smog by
David Shenk”

“The average American adult is exposed to over 600 advertising
messages in a single 24-hour period. -- Managing Business to Business
“Marketing Communications, De Bonis and Peterson.”

Each of us sees more ads alone in one year than people of 50 years ago
saw in an entire lifetime. -- DMNews magazine, 12-22-97.”

Judy Diamond Associates Website

Shenk, in his book Data Smog, states that the average American
encountered 560 daily advertising messages in 1971. By 1997 that
number had increased to over 3,000 per day.

Data Smog
Surviving the Information Glut
by David Shenk
ISBN 0-06-018701-8
(HarperEdge, 1997, $24.00)

A project from the University of Washington:

“The average American is exposed to 500 to 1,000 commercial messages a
day (Arens 1999). That's anywhere from 182,500 to 365,000 commercial
messages that a person will view this year alone.”
University of Washington Website

In Chapter 1 of the book “Marketing Without Advertising: Inspire
Customers to Rave About Your Business to Create Lasting Success” by
Michael Phillips & Salli Rasberry:

“It is estimated that each American is exposed to well over 2,500
advertising messages per day, and that children see over 50,000 TV
commercials a year.”
Nolo's Law Store

Description of a marketing course at Fordham University: 

“Advertising is the most pervasive element of the marketing mix: the
average American family of four is exposed to 1,500 advertising
messages a day!”
Fordham University College of Business Administration

What is the problem with advertising today? 

“One problem with advertising today is that there is too much of it.
The average American is exposed to over 3000 ads every day. The ads
increasingly encroach upon our public space -- our schools, our public
transportation, our buildings, and even our beaches (a new technique
enables the advertisers to stamp their ads onto the sand at beaches.)"

In the article “High-Profile Product Recalls Need More Than the Bat
Signal” by Jeanne Finegan, from Huntington Legal Advertising

“Because Americans are saturated daily with marketing messages,
product recall and legal notice programs need to shout above the other
estimated 3,000 marketing messages we receive daily.”

The following excerpt claims that in the U.S. the average person is
exposed to 1,600 advertising messages per day

“According to the Nielsen Report the average American home had the TV
set on for about seven hours a day. The actual viewing was estimated
at 4.5 daily hours per adult. To this had to be added radio, which
offered 100 words per minute and was listened to an average of two
hours a day, mainly in the car. An average daily newspaper offered
150,000 words and it was estimated to take between 18 and 49 minutes
of daily reading time. While magazines were browsed over for about 6
to 30 minutes. (..)Media exposure is cumulative.(..) All in all, the
average adult American uses 6.43 hours a day in media attention. (..)
The media, particularly radio and television, have become the
audiovisual environment with which we interact endlessly and
automatically. Furthermore, the barrage of advertising messages
received through the media seems to have limited effect. Although in
the US the average person is exposed to 1,600 advertising messages per
Emayzine Website

According to Jean Kilbourne, who has been studying ads' cultural
impact for almost 20 years in an interview by Nan Knutsen:

“We believe we're not affected by advertising because it is so often
silly, trivial, and something we don't pay conscious attention to. We
flip through ads in magazines, speed by billboards, zone out during TV
commercials. However, advertising's influence is cumulative and
primarily unconscious. The less consciously we watch ads, the more
deeply we are affected. The average American is exposed to more than
3000 ads a day, and companies spend over $200 billion each year on

Jean Kilboure Website

In an article from the California Newsreel Printout:

Stuart Ewen, professor of communications at Hunter College, says in
the The Ad and the Ego video that what affects us is not our
experience of any one ad but of "the totality which repeats certain
kinds of messages again and again." This constant stream of messages -
3000 "impressions" a day according to researchers, on television,
radio, billboards, buses, T-shirts, sports events, even urinals -
forms the neural network of our consumer society.
California Newsreel  Printout

An excerpt from an outline used to facilitate discussion with the
video Still Killing Us Softly, written by Juli Hayes, R.D., University
of California, Santa Barbara.

About Advertising  
A. Advertising is a 130 billion dollar a year industry. It is thus a
powerful educational force in our culture.
1. The average American watches 30 hours a week. 
2. The average American spends 110 hours a year reading magazines.
3. This ads up to exposure to 1500 ads daily.
Cambridge Documentary Films

The varying numbers I gathered can be explained in the following

Question asked on Monday, June 24, 2002 at The Advertising Media
Internet Center:

“Do you have any updated information on the number of ad messages the
typical consumer is exposed to DAILY?”


“This statistic is only used for "hype" purposes, usually to portray
advertsing as some kind of social evil. The Guru has recently heard
numbers cited between 3,000 and 20,000. These numbers are ludicrous.
When challenged, those citing them will hedge and say they meant
"informational messages" or some such and include product lables
passed in a grocery store. The only way to get a total this high is to
do exposure counting by a methood that would include, for example the
idea that when a person turns the pages in a newspaper's classified
section he is exposed to all 500 ads that might be on each spread of
those pages. When considering these silly numbers, it is best to stop
and think: a person is usually only awake for about 1000 minutes per
day. If they did nothing else but look at or listen to adverstising,
it would take every minute of the day to generate 3000 exposures. A
number aound 500 might be a reasonable extreme, again counting as
exposure all the out-of-home media passed, and small space ads in
newspapers and magazines,even thought there may be no notice taken at

“What are the going numbers for total ad exposures per person per day?
Is it possible to break down the average into the different media?”

“The Guru has seen estimates from a few hundred to many thousands. The
Guru tends to go along with one of the best accepted estimates, that
there are about 245 ad exposures daily, 108 from TV, 34 radio and 112
print. Others estimate 3000, 5000 or more. Even the 245 is "potential"
and perhaps only half are real exposures. The higher estimates
probably include all marketing exposure including being in the
vicinity of product labels or actual products with trademarks visible,
such as your car, computer, fax, phone, shirt, pencil, paper towel in
the bathroom, etc. Just think, if we were really exposed to 3000
advertising messages per day, at an average of just 10 seconds apiece
(accounting for radio :60's and brief exposure to billboards), these
exposures would consume 8.33 hours out of our 16 waking hours per
The Advertising Media Inter Center Website

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I hope this information has been helpful.

Best regards,
brophy-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Great job, bobbie7, I was thoroughly impressed with the range and
depth of your research and your unbelievably fast response time. 
Again, great job!!!

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