Vi Truc Ho

Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam



Submission: 2/2/2020

Revision: 2/29/2020

Accept: 3/19/2020



The avoidance of advertising is highly relevant to the audience, the general attitude towards the advertising and in some cases, it will cause aversion, the boycott of a brand regardless of the one billion designed advertising like how. This study aims to systematically examine and review existing research conducted in the area of ​​advertising avoidance. By elaborating and summarizing various studies, the author provides an overview of the main trends mentioned in the literature regarding avoiding advertising. In this review, the author summarizes the four elementary schools that researchers are aiming to evade advertising, including the intrinsic value of advertising, customer perceptions, and testing for differences in personalizing and the theory of time in advertising.  The avoidance of advertising has experimented under different media from newspapers, television, the internet ... however, depending on the different forms, the evading behavior of customers is different. Furthermore, the constraints consider future studies to examine further discussion and the proposed directions.

Keywords: advertising avoidance; customers' perceptions; intrinsic value;  individual characteristics; time orientation


            Avoiding advertising is an action in which users reduce exposure to ads in different ways (Speck & Elliott, 1997). Research of the Swedish Institute for Opinion Surveys (SIFO) shows that people who avoid advertising on one medium almost always avoid it in all the other media they use (Sifo, 2008).

            There have been many studies using different theories such as information theory (Chatterjee, 2005; Cho & Cheon, 2004; Dildar & Helence, 2014; Ho, Phan & Phan, 2018; Prendergast, Tsang & Cheng, 2014), experience theory (Li & Huang, 2016; Jin & Villegas, 2007; Ho, Phan & Phan, 2018), and the theory of social exchange consciousness (Ketelaar et al., 2015) to explain consumer avoidance.

            The first two theories suggest that any factor that prevents an audience from accessing desired content as "noise" (Prendergast, Tsang & Cheng, 2014), and it negatively affects judgment and behavior (Kolb, 1984). The theory of social exchange shows that consumers consider an exchange when their expected benefits make more sense or at least compensate for costs or lose participation.

            A new research direction recently carried out by scientists is to avoid advertising based on the theory of time in which time is considered a guide in behavior from a cultural perspective. Each country has a different orientation but converges into a prominent direction in three directions: past, present, or future (Davies & Rojas-Méndez, 2005; Kaynak et al., 2013). Pagendarm and Schaumburg (2001) argue that people avoid advertising because the ad position is not convenient and does not create an attraction for customers to click to see.

            Another reason is that the value of advertising does not contain useful information or emotional value to customers (Ho, Phan & Phan, 2018). According to Cho and Cheon (2004), customers avoid online advertising because advertising hinders awareness. Besides, previous negative experiences about advertising lead to judgments and decisions to avoid advertising or behavioral bias (Kolb, 1984).

           Faced with different products, consumers refine their attention and focus on different efforts (Kim, Ghazizadeh & Hikosaka, 2015). Cho and Cheon (2004), Song and Jiang (2017) grouped choices in three different aspects of advertising evasion, including cognitive evasion, emotional evasion, and behavior. Rojas-Méndez and Davies (2005) divide avoidance into two dimensions: partial and total avoidance. Another research direction of Rojas-Méndez and Davies (2017) considers ad evasion under two perspectives is behavioral and mechanical.

           In summary, there are many different studies done to learn about evading advertising from different perspectives, using different theories, and experimenting in different media. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to synthesize various studies and group them into significant research direction to avoid advertising to contribute to a more general view of advertising.

            The advertising avoidance leads to the user's intent to skip the advertising, and it is considered one of the biggest obstacles of advertising. Depending on personal characteristics and other frameworks such as demographics, target disruptions, and related issues, users may have different ways to avoid advertising (Speck & Elliott, 1997).

According to Clancey (1994), users avoid advertising by ignoring attention to advertising. Danaher (1995) argues that when starting to appear during breaks between shows, television viewers have several options: (a) to leave the room; (b) change to another channel; (c) switch off the equipment; (d) mute the device sound; (e) read books, magazines, newspapers ... (f) talk to other people in the room ...

Through preliminary research, Rojas-Méndez and Davies (2005) have added the option of using electricity voices during the ad. When researching for the online environment, several additional observational variables are added, such as hated advertising, ignoring and not paying attention, or using applications to block advertisements, close the display window to avoid.

Advertising avoidance classify into three aspects: cognitive avoidance (tendency to ignore advertising; not to pay attention; not pay attention despite attractive advertising), affective avoidance (hate advertising; think that without advertising is better) and behavioral avoidance (dynamically scroll through advertising; block advertising; remove them from any website with a blocker app) (Cho & Cheon, 2004: Song & Jiang, 2017).

Ketelaar et al. (2015) measured advertisement avoidance in terms of action with a statement regarding active and passive avoidance with statements regarding ignoring advertising in the studied media. Rojas-Méndez and Davies (2005) divide advertising avoidance into two angles: partial avoidance (reading books, newspapers, magazines, mute audio) and total avoidance (leaving the room; moving to another channel).

Another research direction of Rojas-Méndez and Davies (2017) considers it in two aspects: behavioral avoidance (leaving the room; using a phone; reading books, newspapers, magazines) and mechanical avoidance (turn off the TV; turn off the sound). Noticeably, if Cho and Choen (2004) argue that behavioral avoidance involves the use of mechanical means, Rojas-Méndez and Davies (2005) divide into two directions, more specific in that behavior and mechanics. Other studies consider advertising evading as a scale that combines behavioral advertising, affective avoidance, and cognitive avoidance, but each aspect only studies one to two items.

For example, Li and Huang (2016) explored the advertising avoidance as follows: consumers deliberately ignore any ads (cognitive avoidance), hate online behavioral ads (affective avoidance), close or intercept online behavioral advertising (behavioral avoidance). In short, depending on the different media and different views of researchers that avoid advertising is divided into different types.


There are many reasons for advertising avoidance in general and online advertising in particular, which is one of the biggest obstacles for businesses. The research on advertising avoidance is exploited under various aspects, which gather into four research directions.

2.1.          Research direction from the perspective of the intrinsic value of advertising

According to Zimmerman and Bradley (2019), the intrinsic value has been characterized value that something has in itself. Intrinsic value does not exist as an object but is an attribute of the object. In particular, the intrinsic value that belongs to the attributes of the advertisement. There has been a lot of research on advertising evasion considering the intrinsic value of advertising.

Research by Ducoffe (1996), advertising values ​​is considered from two angles: information value and entertainment value. At the same time, incentive value is also a new angle to be considered in the advertising value that was discovered and tested by Hightower (2008); Elisabeth (2009). Summary, the value of information, entertainment, and stimulation are three main scales that researchers experimented with and discovered. 

According to Ducoffe (1995), the information value of advertising is effective when it suits the needs of customers. The information value of online advertising is measured by usefulness, importance, providing lots of news (Ducoffe, 1996; Edwards, Li & Lee, 2002; Ho, Phan & Phan, 2018). Bracket and Carr (2001) added that the up-to-date information is also a part of the value of advertising information when experimented with ads via mobile devices. The results of studies have shown that informative advertising causes less evasive behavior than advertising without useful information (Cho & Cheon, 2004; Louise, Kerr & Drennan, 2010).

Entertainment value achieved through the fun, excitement, relaxation, or humor that advertising provides (Ducoffe, 1995; Ho, Phan & Phan, 2018; Xu, 2006; Choi et al., 2013). Many authors have demonstrated the influence of entertainment value on advertising avoidance not only in traditional media (Ducoffe, 1995) but also online environment (Ducoffe, 1996; Cho & Cheon, 2004; Choi et al., 2004). According to Diaz, Hammond and McWilliam(1997); Edwards, Li and Lee. (2002); Cho and Cheon (2004), there are an negative relationship between entertainment value and advertising avoidance behavior. Specifically, if the user perceives a higher level of entertainment, the harder it is to avoid advertising. According to Xu (2007), entertainment value relates to the attitude of being fascinated with the message that the advertisement brings, so that the less the customers avoid.

Encouraging value is considered in such content as grasping many trends, becoming smart consumers, knowing much promotional information (Ho, Phan & Phan, 2018; Xu, 2007; Ducoffe, 1995), dimensions and determination format of advertising (Chatterjee, 2005), authenticity (Dildar & Helence, 2014), the interactivity that advertising brings, the popularity of advertising (Okazaki, Molina & Hirose, 2012) ... Research results showed that the more encouraging valuable the advertising is, the less likely it is for the viewer to avoid it (Hightower, 2008).

The following model showed that the factors affect the intention of advertising and advertising avoidance.

Figure 1: The intrinsic value of the advertising module

            In this research direction, many published works have experimented on various media: banner and pop-up (Chatterjee, 2005); social networking site (Ho, Phan & Phan, 2018); mobile device (Okazaki, Molina & Hirose, 2012; Sung-Hee, 2016; Xu, 2006); online environment (Dilar & Hellen, 2014) ... Depending on the studies conducted in different locations, subjects, and media, the impact level of the factors is different.

            However, the common ground of all studies was that the attitude towards advertising strongly influenced the avoidance of advertising. These studies report consumer distrust about advertising, leading to a strong tendency to avoid advertising. Besides, according to the result of Sung-Hee (2016), value advertising affects directly to avoidance. In short, the internal values of the advertising can have a direct impact on the evading of the ad and also indirectly through user behavior. However, the higher the advertising value, the more likely it will be to avoid advertising. At the same time, depending on the media and audience characteristics, the value of information, entertainment, or encouragement has different levels of impact on avoiding advertising.

2.2.          Research direction from the perspective of customers' perceptions

When talking about perception, we always have to keep in mind that we perceive the world not as it is, but as we think it is (Durmaz & Diyarbakirlioglu, 2011). Customer perceptions represent the way consumers handle and interpret information, express the opinion of the consumer about the product or service, which directly affects consumer behavior (Mcneal, 2007). By the different approaches, marketers can directly influence user perceptions (Berenbaum & Larkin, 2007).

Mainly, in advertising avoidance aspect, the perception of customers focus on advertising hindering the cognitive goal by limiting the number of related actions to user goals (Cho & Cheon, 2004; Li & Huang, 2016; Ho, Phan & Phan, 2018); aware of advertising clutter (Cho & Cheon, 2004), customers have negative experiences from previous (Cho & Cheon, 2004; Li & Huang, 2016) or information privacy concerns (Okazaki, Molina & Hirose, 2012; Gurau & Ranchhod, 2009).

The study of Chaterjee (2008) discovered that consumers felt that they interrupted their goals when advertising appears. Perceived goal impediment caused by advertising on Internet media is much more than traditional media because it is considered to be more goal and task-oriented (Cho & Cheon, 2004).

That means that when they want to continue to see something on the website, they are forced to click on the advertising and complete the processing of the information compelled to click on the advertising and get done with the information processing on the advertiser's site or compulsively click close the ad to resume the original task online.

Perceived goal impediment was measured by items as makes harder, disrupts the flow of texting, disrupts or hinders from using other content/services, disrupts receiving desired incoming content, infringes on control, intrudes on search for desired information (Cho & Cheon, 2004; Edwards, Li & Lee, 2002; Speck & Elliott, 1997, Shin & Lin, 2016). It is these activities that cause discomfort for users, which in turn leads to avoiding advertising (Nettelhorst & Brannon, 2012).  

Cluttered advertising is considered as the presence of a large amount of non-editorial content (Ha & Mccann, 2008). Fennis and Bakker (2001) have applied information theory in advertising research, saying that because consumers have limited ability to process information, overloading causes users to react negatively, from that leads to outrage and avoiding advertising (Ha & Litman, 1997). When researching on advertising clutter, the scales are measured as exclusiveness, irritation, excessiveness (Seyedghorban, Tahernejad & Matanda, 2015). Specifics, if advertising clutters, consumers are likely to have difficulty in discriminating between messages, leading them to disregard all messages in this space (Cho & Cheon, 2004).

Theory of experience (Kolb, 1984) shows that people make decisions based on their prior negative experiences. Researchers point out that consumers with experience will be the basis for shaping their future attitudes and behaviors (Hong & Sternthal, 2010). According to Cho and Cheon (2004), consumers' negative experience about advertising is deceptive, exaggerated, incorrectly targeted, or leads users to inappropriate sites.

The other aspects concerning experience such as awareness of the lack of usefulness of advertising (Obermiller, Spangenberg & Maclachlan, 2005); intrusive advertising, hateful ads, annoying, annoying ads (Guesenhues, 2017); or the feeling of disappointment in advertising, not receiving the benefits and motivation when watching ads ... (Li & Huang, 2016; Ho, Phan & Phan, 2018). Also, the lack of utility of advertising or the promotion of inadequate incentives can lead to avoiding advertising (Obermiller, Spangenberg & Maclachlan, 2005). 

With the characteristics of an online environment, where there is a high level of interaction, information privacy is increasingly concerned and becomes an urgent issue because of the level of personal information collection and information storage its duration. (Okazaki, Molina & Hirose, 2012).

According to research by Smith, Milberg and Burke (1996), to measure information privacy concerns, there are four aspects to include: proper access to the personal information collection, errors, and unauthorized secondary use ... Malhotra, KIM and Agarwal (2004) based on Smith, Milberg and Burke (1996) developed an extended scale to measure Internet users based on a social contract theory consisting of three elements: collection, control, and awareness of privacy practices. Okazaki, Molina and Hirose (2012) also agree with the scales in information privacy concerns of Malhotra, Kim and Agarwal (2004) when they experimented with mobile advertising.

The results of these studies suggest that hindering cognitive goals is a significant factor in avoiding advertising, but paying little attention to advertising incompatibilities. Besides, previous negative experiences about advertising lead to judgments and decisions to discover ads, leading to behavioral bias. In short, when customers have a negative experience, they often have a terrible attitude towards advertising, from which to form advertising avoidance. Therefore, creating a good impression with customers is something that businesses should be a concern.

2.3.          Research direction from testing the difference in advertising avoidance      

In this research direction, the researchers focused on the differences in advertising avoidance that come from characteristics that belong to individuals, namely gender, marital status, age, income, submission, education ... (Speck & Elliott, 1997; Gregorio, Jung & Sung, 2017), religious character (Fam, Walle & Erdogan, 2004; Ketelaar et al., 2015). In particular, Speck and Elliott (1997) examined advertising evasion predictions in 946 American respondents with different races on four media: magazines, newspapers, television, and radio.

The results indicate that racial origin does not affect advertising avoidance behavior, but age and income are the best demographic predictors in the media for their ability to avoid advertising audience. Also, factors such as household size, education level, and marital status have different impacts depending on each specific media:

Table 1: Summary of some cases of avoidance behavior


Where there is an act of avoiding advertising


Respondents have a high income, small household size.


Respondents are old, have high education and income.


Respondents are young or have a high income.


Respondents are young and unmarried.

Source: Speck and Elliott (1997)

Following experiments in the US, the research results of Gregorio, Jung and Sung (2017) obtained similar results with Speck and Elliott (1997) on the influence of age and income on four types of media: magazines, newspapers, television, and radio. However, in contrast to the results of Speck and Elliott (1997), Gregorio, Jung and Sung (2017) find significant differences among ethnic groups: African-Americans have shown the least level of advertising avoidance for all four media analyzed, and also show attitudes affected to positive for advertising.

This is also an area that Speck and Elliott (1997) had not exploited intensely when the authors focused the survey sample on two racial groups, white and black, but not identified by ethnic origin. Extensive research with the 2002 sample size by Gregorio, Jung and Sung (2017) has demonstrated that different racial backgrounds have different degrees of advertising evasion.

The study of Ketelaar et al. (2015) shows that religious people are less likely to avoid advertising than non-religious individuals. At the same time, it proves the opposite of Fam, Walle and Erdogan (2004) that religious followers have a more negative attitude towards advertising, especially ads related to political views, ads for controversial products and services such as alcohol, drug leaves, and contraceptives.

Thus, in addition to age and income are two demographic variables that have quite similar effects on advertising avoidance behavior, ethnic origin, religion, household size, educational level, status multipliers are variables that always change in different experimental environments.

2.4.          Research direction involves a theoretical of time

          Taking a theoretical view of time as a recent approach, researchers learn about advertising avoidance based on a time perspective, including time allocation and time orientation. 

          The recent first approach of Rojas-Méndez and Davies (2017) is to use time allocation theory, considering time as a scarce resource (Wolburg, 2001) to save, spend, waste, and lost. In this approach, Rojas-Méndez and Davies (2017) have time under two aspects: time planning and time pressure to avoid advertising behavior.

In it, time pressure is a perception that time is not enough to do all that is needed, and time planning is considered the basis for understanding time allocation decisions (Brodowsky & Anderson, 2000). Research results show that avoidance behavior varies by country; the British, when pressured by time, tend to avoid behaviorally and for those who plan time to avoid the local mechanical aspect (turn off the television, turn off the volume ...).

In Chile, they often have a time plan and tendency to avoid advertising in terms of behavior (leaving the room, talking on the phone, reading books, reading newspapers during the advertising period). However, in this study, athough looking at a different time perspective, researchers are still looking to experiment and compare avoidance advertising between different time-oriented.

          Another area of ​​research that is also of great interest to researchers is the consideration of avoiding time-based advertising. Time orientation is the tendency of a person to focus on value, and use consistently as a specific reference frame in the past, present, or future (Lin & Mowen, 1994). Accordingly, advertising often includes a call to action now or soon, but the reasons for buying or using products and services may vary between individuals with a past orientation, present, or future (Rojas-Méndez & Davies, 2005; Kuswati, 2011; Kaynak, Kara & Apil, 2011).

Kaynak et al. (2013) are focusing on the viewpoint of time as a feature of the culture in which the authors focus their research on advertising evasion and empirical comparisons between countries, also known as text comparisons cross-culture. A pioneer in this ad-dodging study is author Rojas-Méndez & Davies (2005), who developed a time-oriented theory to apply to ad-avoidance on television advertising and compare the differences between two different cultures in England and Chile, in which the England is considered a country with a past orientation and Chile is identified as a country with a current orientation.

The research results show that it is not possible to apply advertising to all countries at the same time because the experiments between the two countries have two different time orientations showing different beliefs, attitudes, and behavior of avoidance. Furthermore, research has confirmed that people have faith in advertising, but people with a past orientation have a negative attitude towards advertising, and those with a current orientation have a positive attitude.

However, Kuswati (2011) finds contradiction with an exploration of Rojas - Méndez and Davies (2005), who discovered the behavioral pattern of avoiding viewing television advertising on time orientation. The beliefs and attitudes used by Rojas - Méndez and Davies (2005) cannot be used because it does not indicate an appropriate kindness index when the context of another study.

Kuswati (2011), using a nested model by adding structured relationships, found that individuals with current and future directions do not have absolute faith in advertising on television. Therefore, this study indicates that an individual may have a positive belief in advertising but negative behaviors in which they try to avoid seeing it. Also, there is a direct relation from attitude to time orientation, in particular, the present and the future orientation without mediating beliefs like the discovery of Rojas-Méndez and Davies (2005).

The use of an integrated model also helps Kuswati (2011) discover a direct relationship in the past and present directions to the act of avoiding watching television advertisements. Two significant influences: the past-oriented individual negatively influences the behavior of avoiding seeing it while the present-oriented individual positively affects the behavior of avoiding seeing it.

Another study by the authors Kaynak, Kara and Apil (2011) experiments for TV advertising at Georgian concludes that time orientation and advertising attitude are considered as predictors of advertising avoidance behavior. A recent study by Kaynak et al. (2013) at Georgian and Macau also discovered that some people are future-oriented but not excited about advertising, and they will switch to another channel and participate in other activities during the advertising period.

       In summary, the authors in the past we can see a contradiction through the findings of the authors. If Rojas-Méndez and Davies (2005) assert that past-oriented people have behaviors to avoid advertising and those with other orientations do not. Kuswati (2011) argues that people with a present and future orientations tend to avoid them if advertisements do not relate to the areas in which they are interested. Meanwhile, when studying in Macau, confirmed that these subjects avoided advertising but in different ways (Kaynak, Kara & Apil, 2011). Thereby, we see that there is still much debate around the issue of avoiding advertising based on this time-oriented theory.

2.5.          A summary of the research related to advertising avoidance

Table 2: A summary of advertising avoidance




Research direction

Aspect to avoidance

Banner and Pop – up



Intrinsic value

Cognitive avoidance

Physical avoidance

Media (newspaper, magazine, radio, television)

Speck and Elliott


Personal characteristics

Behavioral avoidance

Gregorio, Jung  and Sung


Behavioral avoidance

Social networking site

Kelly, Gayle  and Drennan


Customers' perceptions

Cognitive avoidance

Behavioral avoidance

Ho, Phan and Phan


Intrinsic value

Customers' perceptions

Cognitive avoidance

Behavioral avoidance

Mobile device

Okazaki, Molina and Hirose


Intrinsic value

Behavioral avoidance

Digital media

Ketelaar et al.


Personal characteristics

Active avoidance

Passive avoidance


Rojas-Méndez and Davies


Allocated time

Partial avoidance

Rojas-Méndez and Davies


Time Orientation

Partial avoidance

Total avoidance

Kaynak et al.


Behavioral avoidance

Online environment

Cho and Cheon (2004)


Customers' perceptions

Behavioral avoidance

Effective avoidance

Cognitive avoidance

Dildar and Helence (2014)


Intrinsic value

Behavioral avoidance


Jin and Villegas


Customers' perceptions

Overall behavior

Li and Huang  


Customers' perceptions

Overall behavior

            With the above summary, we find that there is quite a bit of research done to explore different advertising perspectives. Also, the authors conducted experiments on many different media such as online environment, social networks, mobile devices, digital media, television, banners, and pop-ups. .. to learn the different influences in media on avoiding advertising.

            However, from the perspective of avoiding advertising on time-oriented theory, currently, the number of studies is quite limited, focusing only on experiments in some countries and the results of the authors are still causing controversy, debate, especially this study was done only on the media on television, but in other media, it has not been studied in depth. Thereby, we see that there is still much debate around the issue of avoiding advertising based on this time-orientation theory and that there is a need for empirical research in different countries to help researchers the most comprehensive and comprehensive picture.


Through the analysis of the literature, we find that there are quite several studies using research methods with different perspectives on the experimental selection on different media such as online environment, social networks, mobile devices, digital media, television, banners, and pop-ups ... Currently, the research findings discovered that the study dodges advertising to different schools.

If the schools of intrinsic value, customer awareness about advertising and the difference in demographic characteristics have been studied quite a lot and the results bring a high uniformity, avoid advertising on the time-oriented theory the number of studies is quite limited, focusing only on experiments in many countries and on television advertising.

Therefore, in the future, more research on advertising evasion based on time-orientation theory in different media, as well as experiments in different countries, will be needed to help researchers built the most general picture of this advertising avoidance. Besides, examining the different schools of advertising evasion gives us a better overview of advertising so that businesses can understand the cause of advertising avoidance to made appropriate solutions for business.


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