Out With The Annoying, In With The Advertising

Branding / 02.09.16 / Arvin Sepehr

It turns out that selling out to annoying ads isn’t ultimately lucrative for most companies.

A recent study done by the American Marketing Association (AMA) shows that while annoying ads may make a company small amounts initially, the long run spreadsheets don’t show the process of annoying your internet users with pitiful ads to be a very rewarding idea. The result, as George Nimeh puts it, has been to see an annual 41% increase in the use of ad blocker software.

But ad blockers don’t work on every kind of ad. There are sites who catch Ad blockers and don’t display their content without ad blockers being turned off (I’m looking at you, GQ). There are also those sites (not really, just YouTube) that seem to defeat ad blockers by playing videos only after a 15 or 16 second ad has finished playing. The alternative we need to pursue is not to get rid of ads altogether. What needs to take place, however, is what’s already started to take place in some forward thinking brands.

Brands are starting to realize the best way to sell their products is to simply showcase their products in the stories people want to hear. Redbull received much more attention (and hello, money), when they strapped wings on somebody named Felix Baumgartner rather than constantly telling everyone their product would give you wings.

Storytelling, the act of talking about human beings, is the reason advertising ever became helpful to companies in the first place. Think about it, advertisers wanted to get their products in front of potential customers. Where’d they take their product? To the media where storytelling was already taking place. Advertisers who’d like to stop being synonymous with annoying distractions from whatever story people actually want to see should start telling interesting stories themselves. Redbull knocked it out of the atmosphere with their Stratos project, hosting millions of people on their live feed without having to pay for anyone to take a break from their TV show to see it.

If your company is looking to remove itself from the annoying list of advertisers who interrupt what people are really after, consider telling stories that customers will actually be after. In the ever evolving geography of media and advertising, companies unwilling to adapt may very well be consumed by the Felix Baumgartner flames still going all over the world.