Has this ever happened to you?
You’re visiting the ladies’ room of your friendly neighborhood bar, doing your business, when you notice someone speaking to you.
“Hey,” says the poster on the back of the stall door. “You look like a nice chick. Good genes and all. You ever think about … maybe … sellin’ your eggs? You could get up to $20,000 for ‘em! Think of all the Midori Sours that
OK. Maybe the poster doesn’t say exactly that. And it doesn’t speak out loud. But that’s how it sounds in your head. And BAM
. You’ve just become the victim of intrusive advertising.
The definition of intrusive advertising differs a bit depending on who you talk to. Some experts say it’s any ad that’s not relevant to the viewer—any ad that’s missed its target by a mile. Others say it’s any ad that’s unpleasant, unexpected or ill timed.
While you could argue that any commercial that appears while you’re trying to watch The Real Housewives of Narnia (or whatever your fave trash TV happens to be) is “ill-timed,” I’m speaking specifically about the ones that make you feel icky. The ones that make you feel like your space has been invaded. The advertising equivalent of a close-talker.
“Sell Your Eggs” definitely fits this category, as does “One Weird Trick To Lose Belly Fat.” And hey, check out this ad
encouraging you to feed the hungry. Bet you’d feel pretty uncomfortable stacking up your frozen pizza rolls in that cart.
So, how do you make sure your marketing presence is doing more advertising than annoying? How do you grab attention without “Of Mice and Men” choking it to death? It’s tiiiiime for a checklist:
1. Be objective.
Ask yourself how you’d
feel if you got this popup/commercial/request for genetic material. If the answer is “Mad!” then it’s back to the drawing board.
2. Oh, forget it.
You can’t be objective about your own work. Gather up a few outside opinions and ask them what they think. If the answer is, “We hate it—and you!” it’s
time to mosey back to the ol’ drawing board.
3. Ask yourself:
“Self, am I doing ‘loud’ because I’ve forgotten how to do ‘creative’?” If the answer is yes, it’s, you guessed it, B.T.T.D.B!
Of course, there’s probably one customer out there who loves
to have a giant popup block the page right in the middle of a paragraph. But on the way to finding that guy, your intrusive advertising is going to alienate a whole lot of normal people who just want to read their Internet in peace, by God!
Julai Whipple works at The Black Sheep Agency, a Houston-based creative agency specializing in non-traditional public relations, social media and experiential marketing. A version of this story first appeared on the Black Sheep Agency blog.