Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bad Manners and Annoying Advertising

Is bad manners the core problem of advertising and direct / online marketing?

I subscribe to the VRM (vendor relationship management) email discussion list that was started by blog pioneer and technology guru Doc Searls.

Doc is one of the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto, which defined the web revolution, pitting it against old fashioned sales and marketing.

Today, in a discussion of bad online advertising, Doc made a comment that many are finding to be profound. But I felt I needed to expand upon it a bit.

Doc Searls said:


All of the problems we have had with advertising and direct marketing, since the beginning, have been around manners.


Yes, ill breeding and lack of decorum are probably why some advertisers think they can block your view of an article with popups and interstitials (ads that come in between the web page you were at and the web page you are trying to navigate to).

Sometimes it's hard to find the "Close This Window" or the "X" to click on to get rid of them.

Improper upbringing is partly responsible for those aggravating commercials that appear before a video starts. They don't know it's rude to cut in front of a presentation to blabber some sales hype.

While it is true that bad manners, deliberately annoying and interrupting, has been one aspect of The Problem with Advertising, there are at least 3 other major problems.

(1) Lying, exaggerated, false advertising.

(2) Information-less, non-USP, no benefit advertising.

(3) Dangerous, life-threatening advertising.

WE see examples of all 3 of these problems all the time.

Ridiculous claims that are not true.

TV commercials that, okay you might call them "branding", or "generating excitement based on loud noise and fast action and hip looking cool people" -- but you are given no rational reason to buy the product. 

I think the Microsoft Surface tablet commercials, with people hopping around and slamming their tablets on tables, is an example of content-free advertising.

In too many cases, "branding" seems to be "make a lot of noise, jump around like imbeciles and numbskulls, to make the product seem like it has super-power that jolts you like a hit of crack cocaine."

Consumers likely think, "If I buy that thing, I'll look like an idiot."

Some may say, "It grabs your attention." 

I say, "In a bad way. Like a train wreck."

For dangerous advertising, the car commercials are a case in point.

I would estimate that 80% to 90% of all automobile TV commercials show a driver speeding around recklessly.

It makes me think the car companies are advocating that motorists break the law and go over the speed limit, just to feel the power of their new vehicle.

Who cares if pedestrians and other motorists are killed?

Floor it, dude!

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