Monday, November 19, 2007

Ad immunity?

Interesting article from Advertising Age today: "Ads keep spreading, but are consumers immune?" Definitely worth a read.

I was actually thinking about this over the weekend. I've been 2-3 weeks behind in my television watching, and the DVR gods have clearly been feeling a bit spiteful. You guessed it. The only show that my DVR caught over the last couple weeks was How I Met Your Mother. Thank gods for that one. But this meant that in order to catch up on my shows, I had to watch them online.

Anyone who has watched their fave prime time fare online knows that the video advertisements are extremely annoying. That's not news to you. (By the way, did you know that the movie This Christmas is coming out November 21?! Yeah I certainly do now, since I was forced to sit through the commercial 7 times per show...)

But what I was thinking about this weekend was why those commercials were irritating me so much. Obviously the repetition is one reason. (Once you've watched the Febreeze guy bend down to smell the carpet about three times, you start hoping this next time maybe he'll break his nose.)

But I think this article from Ad Age is on to something here. Maybe the biggest reason the video player ads are so annoying is because I NEVER sit through commercials anymore. Thanks to DVR, I watch everything on a time-delay, specifically so I don't have to watch irritating ads. I also have a blocker on my web browser to help me avoid those pesky internet pop-up ads. My eye ignores internet banner ads these days, not to mention the TV ads that glide across the bottom of my TV screen during my shows. I'm always listening to my iPod and reading a book on the bus or the subway, so I rarely notice taxi-top ads and billboards (although they probably catch my attention more than any other ad types).

So what's the fate of advertising? They always said in advertising classes that while you THINK you might be ignoring advertising, you never actually could. But with all these advances in technology, I really don't think that's true anymore. Obviously ad agencies are coming up with new and better (well, "better" is relative) ways to serve ads to us. But are we becoming immune even to new tactics? I've gotta say, eventually I started checking my email during the commercial breaks online. And, for the record, I NEVER read Google Ads. So I eventually avoided even the most intrusive of online ads. Maybe I'm not as much immune as I am clever and resourceful in avoiding ads. Or maybe not.

What say you, blog readers?


A. McKaul said...

Hey Lisa,

Just browsing blogs one lazy Wednesday afternoon and was pleased to come across your offering.

In answer to your question: I feel the same way about advertising as I do about Mormons. If I want to buy something or join a fruity religion I will find you. There's no need to knock on my door.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with the late, great prophet Bill Hicks who said something like:

"Is there anyone in the audience in advertising or marketing? Go and kill yourselves right now. No mean it. You are the root of all evil and turning everything to shit... Oh, he's just using anti marketing... the anti marketing market is a huge market these days... NO I'm not doing that, really go kill yourselves!"

OK it's a bad attempt at paraphrasing but you get the idea. I see from your profile that you work for an online marketing agency. I don't want you to take Bill's words literally - I just share his opinion as far as advertising and marketing is concerned.

The SOLE purpose of advertising is to make people feel bad. To create holes that people need to fill.

On the up-side I tend to agree with "Ads keep Spreading..." in that people are becoming immune to the constant barrage to the senses. The downside is that the message still gets through, making anorexic teenagers kill themselves and the morbidly obese hit the junk food.

The real issue for me is advertising aimed at children. I mean really - kids don't have any money, why should there be any ads directed towards the most fragile consciousnesses of our society.

For the rest of us, basic schooling should include units on become discerning consumers of media. I many places this is now the norm, thankfully. This should extend to pointing out that these days the TV shows ARE the advertising. Promoting an unachievable lifestyle to keep people in a state of inferiority.

Anyway, that's my short answer to your question.
Sorry it turned into a bit of an essay, but I have strong feelings on the issue.

Keep up the work on your great blog.

Take it easy,


PS where can I get one of those DVR things

Lisa said...

I agree with you. Despite my career in interactive marketing and advertising, I actually have serious problems with the advertising world. I come from a media criticism background, and may eventually get my Ph.D. in media studies. Regardless, thanks for the comments! Well said.