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Public Not Bothered by Ads During Wartime

Most TV viewers don't have a problem with watching commercials during the coverage of the war in Iraq, according to a survey conducted two weeks ago by Frank N. Magid Associates. The results were presented at last week's Television Bureau of Advertising conference in New York.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of those surveyed said they were "very interested" in news coverage of the war, and almost 80% said their interest in the war coverage either remained consistent or increased from day to day.

"So what we're not seeing is wear-out in terms of the public's desire to have news and information about the war," said Magid Director of Online Research Michael Antecol, who presented the survey results at the TVB.

Seventy-three percent of the respondents said their number-one source of news about the war has been TV.

Asked if they were "bothered" by ads on TV during wartime news coverage, 57% said it doesn't upset them at all. Twenty percent were bothered by the presence of ads, and 33% were ambivalent. More than 65% said they "strongly agree" with the statement that advertising is necessary to keep the economy moving, while 60% strongly agreed that ads are a normal part of TV and they expect to see them, even during wartime. Fifty-four percent agreed that advertisers in newscasts are "performing a public service."

When asked if seeing ads in wartime coverage was a turnoff that would prompt viewers to avoid buying products from such advertisers, 73% said no.

More than 60% of the respondents said they would look favorably upon companies that showed support for troops in an ad. But 58% said ads should "steer clear of politics" during wartime.

Almost 90% said the war had not caused them to delay or cancel planned purchases. The survey also suggested that there currently is "pent-up demand" on the part of U.S. consumers to spend money on major purchases, Antecol said. The survey was conducted April 4-7 by Magid subsidiary Results were culled from interviews with 413 adults, representative of the U.S. population, with a margin of error of 5%.