future visions: when empowerment IS annoyance marketing
October 12, 2007
Everyone but used car salesmen hate radio ads that yell at you. They are obtrusive, they are annoying, they make you actively turn off the ad by switching stations, turning off the radio or at the very least turning down the volume.
As we transition through and beyond web 2.0, technology and connectivity will become part of and empower ever growing portions of our lives. As our connectivity continues to grow, marketers will increasingly look to play a part of ever growing parts of consumer lives.
And consumers will push back.
There is a line that we as an industry need to find. I don't ever want Unilever playing an audio ad when I open my fridge. I don't want my alarm clock projecting video ads from Folgers onto my bedroom ceiling when I wake up. I don't want my cell phone getting bluetooth pop-ups asking me if I would like to view an ad from Macy's when I walk past their store in the local mall.
At a certain point we need to learn to stop intruding (even if it is by empowering) and let consumers LIVE their lives. The first brands to offer value or content normally associated with intrusive advertising FOR FREE with NO ADVERTISING OR INTRUSIVE BRAND INSERTIONS will be marked as innovative. Mark my words.
So were do we draw this line? I would work with three determining factors when drawing the line:
- Personal Space
If you are marketing in a place that consumer's consider "personal" you're the brand equivalent of a "close talker". It's uncomfortable, uninvited and makes people feel uneasy. The same goes for interruptive and annoyance marketing. The parameters that define these 3 criteria will differ by demographic, and some groups will be more open to intrusive branding than others, but I shudder when considering that my kids may grow up expecting and inviting ads and marketers into their lives in ever growing capacities.
At a certain point, every individual will have to make this call for themselves and say - this is the place where I don't want brands. This is MY SPACE!
And BTW (by the way) if anyone out there is in the mental health or personal development fields, this is sure to be a hot emerging market. By the year 2020 there will be an entire professional counseling field devoted to teaching consumers to draw these lines in their own lives. By 2025 this lesson will be part of state mandated health class curriculum's. Remember, you heard it here first.
So how does the market evolve? By embracing the consumer's desire to turn their marketing off.
Just as Dove stood out by anti-marketing to the beauty market, so too will the first brand who recognizes this emerging trend and markets the white space they provide for their customers, giving them room to live their lives relatively marketer free. And that my friend's, is the ultimate empowerment.