Dec 5, 2011

Quick Test: Understand this Chart

Here's a small test for you. In the image below, there are four pie charts. You need to look at them quickly and answer this question. These charts are supposed to tell you how four different industries spends money on advertising.

Real Estate companies spend 15% of their advertising money on Radio. What is the share of Radio for Jewellery, Educational Institutes and Local FMCG?


Many of us will take quite a lot of time to understand these charts. Atleast I took. These charts are not 'intuitive'. Ours eyes take colour cues very easily. These charts go against our normal cues. In Real Estate, Radio is marked in yellow colour. So naturally we expect all yellows to be Radio. Even if we do not consciously expect, having all Radio as yellow will make the job of audience much much easier. Why make it tough for the reader? As presenters, we must use colour to our advantage. 

Source: This image is from an article on afaqs which I came across this morning.


  1. You make a good point about using colors, but the pie charts in the graph are flawed.

    Real Estate has RADIO
    Jewellery has PRINT & RADIO
    Educational Institutes have RADIO & OUTDOOR

    With this data, we cannot answer the question "What is the share of Radio for Jewellery, Educational Institutes and Local FMCG?".

    I am not even talking about the lack of base $$$, for example what if Jewellery industry spent $100 mill and Educational institutes spent $5mill?

  2. Good observation.

    The bigger problem with these charts, as observed by you, are that the values for each industry are not mentioned. It is always better to give the total spend of the industry as well so the charts become more meaningful.

    Real Estate's total spend might be Rs. 100 whereas Local FMCG might be Rs. 10. The percentages without base values can lead people astray.