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Infographic Confirms It: Advertising People Are Not Normal

A new study shows: Ad people love advertising and social media. Other people, less so. Also, ad people are more likely to behave badly at office parties.

Those who work in advertising often wonder if they live in a sort of bubble. You wonder, are civilians as active on social media and as inclined to pay attention to what brands are doing on Twitter, and is the rest of the world as preoccupied with that award-winning ad campaign that industry types can’t stop talking about?

The unsurprising answer is no, according to a study commissioned by San Francisco-based advertising agency Heat and conducted this past March by iThink, which found that people who work in advertising and marketing are worlds apart from the "normal" people when it comes to how they use social media and how they view social media marketing.

By the way, the survey also revealed that ad professionals tend to engage in more bad behavior at office holiday parties. More on that later.

First, mull these findings on how advertising/marketing professionals use Facebook as compared to the general public:

•71% of advertising/marketing professionals say they pay attention to brand posts in their Facebook news feed “all of the time” versus 23% of the general population.
As for Twitter: 92% of advertising/marketing professionals use Twitter to follow brands they like. 33% of the general population does so.

Should brands put more effort into interacting with consumers via social media?

•63% of advertising/marketing professionals “strongly agree” that they should; 23% of the general population “strongly agree”

Meanwhile, digital marketing campaigns that are endlessly discussed in the advertising industry aren’t so well known in the wider world. Chew on this:

•70% of advertising/marketing professionals were aware of Burger King’s “Subservient Chicken” digital marketing campaign vs. 8% of the general population; as for the mega-award-winning Jay-Z "Decoded": 63% of advertising/marketing professionals aware of campaign vs. 9% of the general population.

And the study also seems to suggest that the Mad Men stereotypes aren’t off the mark: Subjects were also asked about how they act at office holiday parties, and it appears that people who work in advertising are more likely to puke from drinking too much (37% vs. 9% of the general public); do drugs (26% vs. 3% of the general public); and hook up with a coworker (26% vs. 8% of the general public). If you work in advertising, these results likely aren’t surprising to you.

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65 Comments

  • samboss22

    Apparently 72% of people who work in advertising believe stats quoted to them on a website - where as only 3% of "normal" people do. 

  • jmco

    All this proves is that ad pros are mostly young and dumb. Then they grow up and get better jobs or open their own agency and hire a bunch of young people to do creative work. Repeat cycle…

  • Strategy Girl

    Am I missing something?  The beauty of digital is the ability to target and go viral within the right target.  Doesn't surprise me that only 8% of the population was aware of subservient chicken . . . if memory serves me, the target was teenage boys . . . and that campaign has come and gone.  Overall, a pretty pointless study; ask about more current campaigns.

    Yep, I'm an analyst at an agency . . . should I continue to poke holes?  Oh, we are a different breed!

  • Álvaro

    Facebbok account- 97% vs 82 %
    Twitter accounts- 92 %- 39 %

    I believed that twitter was more popular. A big surprise.

  • Thomson

    What a relief for the creative community especially the AD guys. ALl these said above opens the eyes of the marketting cult, who usually bombrad us with cynical strokes.

  • Merry_Poppinz

    Survey of 150 people in each group, total of 300. Yup, that's statistically significant...

    This is cool to be used as a baseline for creating strategy and challenging what works for the end goal. Not as a report that stands alone.

    Every industry feeds their existence. Nothing new here

  • Cass Waters

    Felt the same way about this article, 78% of pro golfers purchase golfing magazine subscriptions vs. 4% of the normal people*.

    *mere example

  • Antiehypocrite

    Facebook valuation of 100B is a joke.  The revenue model doesn't justify it - and as people start checking their accounts on mobile ad revs will plummet. 

  • JN

    I'm gonna bet that interns make up the majority of that 37% who drink till they puke at the office parties...

  • Craig

    Yea cos the intern defiantly doesn't want to make a good impression, and defiantly doesn't want a job at the end of it, so getting wasted and throwing up at office parties is a great self promotion technique...

    sorry for the sarcasm, not a great morning

  • S. L.

    Many of you in the comments don't understand what 'early adopter' means. It means someone who join before it became mainstream. Twitter and Facebook are very mainstream. Now admittedly some of the other services are still in the early adoption stage such as Pintrest. Since the survey does not say when marketers joined vs the general population, you can't pull out that they are early adopters. In fact, the Facebook feed and following brands on Facebook only came about after it was mainstream.

    Is it bad that marketers are paying attention to communication channels, no that's their jobs. But, you need to aware of what the true extend of said channel is. You know there is a difference between running an ad on the farming cable channel and during Monday Night Football; you (hopefully) get the difference between social media and other media.

  • Alex Hoenig

     S.L. you are so spot on! THANK YOU! It's our JOB to pay attention to these things.. if we didn't drink our own juice, how could we expect the general public??

  • Bree

    Well, maybe they aren't 'normal' because what they do is their job. It is their responsibility to be thinking and doing those things. So I guess, we can really quantify or qualify any kind of action as not normal especially if comparing advertising/marketing people with the general population. 

  • Josh Webb

    Agreed. I have a friend who is a peach scientist. He knows everything there is to know about peaches and helps farmers produce them better which get us, the consumer, better peaches. I assume his "peach" knowledge and enthusiasm is not normal.

  • Kim Phillips

    Advertising people pay more attention to advertising than other people... we needed a study for this? Think doctors pay more attention to medicine that other people? Lawyers to law? Plumbers to plumbing? I really hope my doctor knows more about medicine than I do and encourages me to do healthy things. 

  • Rachel Lary

    The irony here seems to be that, while it is absolutely expected that ad peeps pay more attention to ads than the general public, is the gap not slightly disconcerning that the general public basically pays almost no attention to the ads and brands of which they as the consumer are targeted? It seems counter-productive that the majority of people to follow a brand are ad people, when their entire duty as advertisers and marketers is to get CONSUMERS to follow a brand... Am I right? Or totally off-base with that observation?