Ads and commercials

I said it before, but ads/commercials don’t work with me — no matter how expensive they were to make, or how clever subliminal messages they use. I never watch commercials on TV apart to check their filmmaking aspect (professional curiosity), and I never click on web ads (I want to help out sites, but I don’t seem to find any ad of interest).

In short, I never buy shiz that I don’t have to buy. End of story.

When a few months ago the Gawker sites changed their site design to a “tablet-style app” look, I found that their ads were getting in the way of the otherwise ingenious web site design. They would have big blocks of ads, but their in-article videos or images were too small. Made no freaking sense.

Also, when I click to some youtube link from Reddit and there’s a 30 second ad in there, I close down the tab immediately before reaching the video. And going through Hulu’s 2-3 commercials before an episode starts, is also an exercise in patience. Not because I don’t want to support all the companies involved, but because I don’t care about these products, and I don’t want to spend so much time watching ads. If I need a specific product, I do my research, I read reviews, and then I make an educated purchase.

The way things have been so far, I have to give up minutes of my life for things I don’t care about. Neither myself, or the ad owner gains anything out of it. Even the site owner, who gets paid to show ads, loses in the long run, after viewers get pissed off eventually having to endure ads.

So I’ve thought about the problem, and I think that what would work for me (for both news sites and video sites), is 3-to-5 seconds 16:9 high-res ads (in semi or full-screen). I need these ads to be infomercially-designed. For example, if that’s an ad about DELL’s new laptop, I want to see a quick 360 view of the laptop, some basic specs along with what takes this product apart compared to its competition, and a link to the product or a review online (that would open in a new tab). If it’s an ad about a less distinct product, let us know what the product does, and graphically show us what its uses are. After that, I want this ad GONE from my screen. I DO NOT want to have to click “skip this ad” to go and read an article (like on or view the video. The ad must automatically go away from full screen and diminish itself into a very small graphic (no bigger than 64×64), or a simple text link. The rest of the web page must contain no other ads. Not even these huge Facebook boxes (self-ads) that Gawker uses asking you to be a member of their Facebook group. The web design must be lean, mean, and clean.

Basically, the only ads that would work for me, are “awareness” no-frills, no-fat ads. Quickly show me:
1. What is your product.
2. How can it be used (if relevant).
3. What sets it apart from its competition.

If I care about such a *family of products* then I will research about many of them by myself, and I will remember to check out your specific product too. I don’t need 30 second ads, I don’t need to be convinced (I won’t, so don’t waste your 5 seconds), I don’t need ads that permanently sit within a news article polluting it, and I definitely don’t need ads that make the web site’s design look like ass.


Thom Holwerda wrote on May 9th, 2011 at 2:49 PM PST:

Ads always work. Even if you click them away. It is psychologically and physically impossible NOT to be affected by advertising. You’d have to be living in a cave, deprived of everything.

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Eugenia wrote on May 9th, 2011 at 2:56 PM PST:

No, ads do not work for me. They might built awareness about a brand (which is what I suggest in the article anyway), but they don’t make me go rush and buy ANYTHING based on an ad.

Maybe some people watch an ad for a SONY TV and go out and buy a SONY TV if they need a TV, but for me to buy anything, I put the product through a stress test: major research about its underlying technology, reviews by real people and pros, research about price/features/support.

In this house we buy expensive products through thorough research. Only for the products we don’t care about much, but we do need (e.g. toilet paper), we buy based on price. But again, not based on ads (and there are many US TV ads about toilet paper).

>You’d have to be living in a cave

How else would you call my apartment and my lifestyle?

Thom Holwerda wrote on May 9th, 2011 at 2:59 PM PST:

I mean brand awareness, indeed. Advertising works best for products you have little interest in; for instance, something like shampoo or toothpaste (assuming you have no special requirements).

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Eugenia wrote on May 9th, 2011 at 3:08 PM PST:

Yes, brand awareness is the important bit. I’m not immensely affected by it though, I simply become “aware” of it.

Regarding shampoo: I buy whatever shit is the cheapest at Safeway. I bought once one that was flaking my skin, so I switched to another one that said that it doesn’t flake the skin. Both no-name brands btw.

Regarding toothpaste: very little progress was done in the recent years regarding new toothpaste abilities, so most patents have expired. So even the cheapest toothpaste today does a specific job pretty well. We usually buy multi-purpose toothpaste, the ones that can prevent many different conditions. Again, the cheapest ones win, although usually that’s Colgate at Safeway.

Toothpaste and shampoo ads are everywhere in the US TV too, and I’m aware of them, but I have no good reason to switch to them. If Colgate was coming out tomorrow and said “we can treat your teeth’s conditions, not just prevent them”, of course and I would switch to it, even if the price was to be higher. That would be a good application of the “brand awareness” part, to trust them that what they claim is the truth. But since currently there is no major difference between these products, I simply go for the cheapest solution.

If shampoos or toothpastes were to cost $500 a bottle though, be rest assured that I would thoroughly research about the best of them though. See, even research has its price: time. But if the time spent researching is covered by the difference in performance/price of the chosen product compared to another one, it’s worth it.

Jim wrote on May 11th, 2011 at 8:04 PM PST:

I went thru the Radio Advertising bureau advertising course and used to sell radio advertising.
I have to agree with Eugenia on this one. Who buys gas based on ads, nobody, who buys on price everyone.
Then there is the volume rise that causes me to adjust the volume that pisses me off and it makes me hate the advertiser. So, I wonder how many people are pissed off by the interference and it may be that they are paying for negitive advertising

Mateusz Szczurek wrote on May 12th, 2011 at 3:50 AM PST:

Adblock works well enough to filter vast majority of ads, but for video it might be tricky.

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Eugenia wrote on May 12th, 2011 at 8:54 AM PST:

The point is to not block them, but support the sites that bare them. Right now, I use NoScript, so it blocks most of them, but only unintentionally. I use Noscript for security reasons, not to block ads.

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