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Ad Industry Falls Back On Old Tricks

from the this-space-for-rent dept

It's become obvious over the past few years that competition has heightened in the ad business. Not among agencies competing for work, but rather ads competing for people's attention with all the other media they want to see. It used to be a lot easier: advertisers could simply use interruption to get their messages in front of people. That no longer works, though, thanks to things like DVRs and the web, where some content worth seeing is merely a click of a button away from an ad. There's been some inkling of suggestion that advertisers were beginning to understand that they needed to begin regarding their ads as content, and that they need to engage people instead of just annoying them, since the idea of a captive audience is largely disappearing. So what's the latest trend coming out of ad industry? Nope, not better ads -- just the same old stuff pasted on any available object. The article contends that "marketers say the best way to reach time-pressed consumers is to try to catch their eye at every turn" -- but it seems more likely that people will just grow more and more resistant to all the ads they see instead. Advertising is becoming like camouflage on the modern urban environment. Individual ads no longer stick out, they just fill in the background and add to the visual clutter. Some ad agencies are experimenting with more interactive displays that seek to engage viewers through some form of interaction, but this seems secondary to the overall goal of simply throwing ads up anywhere there's space. This won't make ads more effective, it just leads to an arms race of sorts: after everything's coated in ads, how will they make them stick out then? Sadly, it seems, just by finding a way to make them more annoying and interruptive.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 2:18pm

    i think this an industry where less is definatly more

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Some Dude, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 2:24pm

    Silly Humans....

    Watch the movie 'Idiocracy'. Everything and I do mean everything is covered in ads. People wear ads for clothing as well. And when people speak it is usually followed by 'brought to you by .... "

    I understand the need to advertise your product or service, but dam some of the methods are just plain ludicris.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 2:27pm

    Prime Example

    If anyone saw the Dimitri Martin Person. Special on Comedy Central last night Then you ( hopefully ) saw the microsoft ads that were amazingly interesting enough to keep me watching. Heck they even got Dimitri involved. I think that all advertisers need to do is...hold on this might make you plotz.... take notes from microsoft on this one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    hyphen, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 2:29pm

    I agree...

    In the past five years I have worked for two different advertising firms that both specialized in differnt forms of advertising. Both always seemed to think that more ads were always a better way to go, and would focus thier marketing packages around that idea. In my opinion, it was a way to generate money for themselves and not really focus in on what the client was wanting and attempting to achieve.

    Advertising has just gotten out of control. It's all over TV and radio (always has been and always will be). The websites we go to have advertising all over it (look to your right). Even the video games I play have advertising in it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 2:32pm

    But more is the new less.

    How about a giant fuck-off laser show to turn the Moon into a giant coca-cola advert? Or a necklace of stratospheric hypersonic satellites to turn every human skull into a resonator that broadcasts "voices from our sponsor" directly into our brains?

    Come on USA, prove that when it comes to depths of tasteless excess you can go one step further.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Meat man., Jan 15th, 2007 @ 2:39pm

    No ads for me.

    Firefox + Adblock + lots of *s = no ads on any page. Me: 1 Ads: 0


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    whargoul, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 2:41pm

    Re: But more is the new less.

    Come on USA, prove that when it comes to depths of tasteless excess you can go one step further.

    Puhleeze...we have Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith. If they aren't the depth of "tastless excess", I don't know what is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 2:43pm

    The Mute Button

    "Advertising has just gotten out of control"?

    Yeah ads are totally outta control dude. I saw an ad mugging an old lady in the subway last night.

    I don't deal with ads. I prefer a life of sanity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    fat_hamster, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 3:51pm

    ads, ads, everywhere

    In 1989 capitalism triumphed over communism, in the late
    1990's capitalism triumphed over democracy. Welcome to the
    new world state.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Stu, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 5:08pm

    hyphen said, "a way to generate money for themselves " I agree.

    Judging the effectiveness of radio, TV, print, etc. advertising is difficult. At best, it takes a long time to get a read on it. It's even harder when many campaigns happen at the same time. Which one is/isn't working.

    One reason it's big news in the ad biz when a client switches agencies is that clients are in the dark for so long.

    Compare that to the instant and accurate pay per sale - internet affiliate model. Bad ads are noticed right away, and the cost of every ad can be known. Unproductive affiliates cost nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Ad Vert, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 7:00pm


    True, uproductive affiliates cost nothing to the advertiser, which is good. But the cost to everyone else is more ads and spam, generated by hundreds or thousands of affiliates who do not know how to propery target their advertising.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    mikael, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 7:44pm

    ads have become like a strain of virus that we have become more immune to. it doesn't affect us like it used so these simply means pushing more of the same strain of virus is pointless. you will not be affected by it.

    I went a monster truck show over the weekend and half the dam show was ads it was annoying I mean sure put some stickers on the trucks I can deal with that I don't mind at all in fact I understand monster trucks aren't cheap and ticket sales will not cover the whole cost of the show, but this was just ridicules I thought I was watching TV or something in fact I think I heard and saw more ads there then I would have watching TV. I'm sorry but when I pay to see something sure put up some banners mention a supporter or two but try to keep it to a minimum when I pay to see the show!

    I want the show not ads!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    leroy, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 9:51pm

    waste basket

    What I want is a web browser that allows me to enter domain names, like or and route whatever data comes from that domain right into the trash or blocks it outright. What I want is a web browser that is designed around what is good about the internet, not what makes the internet suck. Let me pick the domains I want cookies from, the rest go to the bitbucket. I want the control, I dont want the webmaster to be in control of my browser.

    And then we take anyone who has ever purchased anything from a spammer or obnoxious web ad and prohibit them from accessing the internet for the rest of their lives because they're obviously too freaking stupid to be left alone with a computer!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 9:58pm

    Re: waste basket

    ever heard of adblock + filterset.g?

    some people are just silly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Jeff, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 10:13pm

    Desperate to see commercials

    Back some 15 years ago or so when I was in the Air Force I was stationed on Okinawa Japan. All there was to watch on tv was the Armed Forces Network. Their breaks were military history, base info and the other boring like. Everyone getting tapes from back home would make it really clear to tell people not to edit out the commercials. Just goes to show given the choice between government psa's and commercials the change in content always won out. It wasn't until I was back one month before I got tired of commercials, then I just had to pop a tape of the AFN's broadcasts and it was cured.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 11:46pm

    Re: waste basket

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    David, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 10:00am

    Start, then abruptly stop

    What is with the new trend to start an add, then half a second later switch to a different add? Then carry through to the end of that add, then go on with the next add in turn.
    I have noticed this for weeks on the Scifi Channel, perhaps other channels too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 10:39am

    Cable Channels show ads, there are certain ads that the cable channel allows local cable companies to cut into with local advertising (Mom and Pops druge store on 3rd street is not advertising worldwide on CNN.) It is likely that either A. A computerized timer is not working correctly on your local stations end, or B, someone at your local cable operator is lazy.

    Those partial ads you see are sold at a cut rate in case no local advertiser bought space.

    Hope that answers your question

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    EastIndyGuy, Jan 29th, 2007 @ 9:29pm

    Leroy --- if you aqren't using Firefox there is a

    simple way to block ads on Windows machines.

    Open the hosts file and add an entry to the offending server that points it to the IP address I long ago switched to using a Mac but the file should be located in c:windowssystem32driversetc if I remember correctly.

    There are several programs out there that will download lists of known adservers and update the file for you automatically if you prefer to not edit the file yourself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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