Feb 11

How far is too far?

Before we get started let’s just preface this by stating the obvious: We’re in marketing and therefore want ads to exist.  Ads, in one form or another, are our bread and butter.  But does that mean any possible ad someone can dream up is good?  We think not.

Think about this example: We have the ability to make concrete and get it to stick to the ground.  That is good.  But would paving every square inch of ground be a good idea?  Sure, it’s possible.  But that doesn’t mean it needs to be done!

Same thing with ads.  We recently read about Court TV’s “audio spotlight” – speakers installed in the ceilings of bookstores that promote a new murder-mystery show by playing a recoding of a voice whispering, “Hey, you, can you hear me? Do you ever think about murder?”

Um, can you say, “Hello creepy?”  Sure it‘s clever, it’s different, it’s new – and it’s likely to make more than a few people jump out of their skin and scurry out of the store.  Hearing voices is a legitimate sign of mental trouble.

And if this trick is embraced we have to ask the obvious: what’s next?  Cereal boxes yelling at us from the grocery aisles?  Reams of paper with flashing light wrappers?  Sure these ideas sound nuts, but so did the “audio spotlight” at one time.  And we don’t even have time to get into the opt in/out and invasion of privacy issues here.

Yes, we are painfully aware of media saturation and how we all get to witness thousands of advertising messages daily.  But is the natural conclusion then to create weird and invasive ways to cut through the clutter?

Might the real problem lie in the fact that there are too many people pushing too many ads?  If we were more selective about the type and amount of ads put out, might people be more receptive to them?

Just remember: Things that are “weird” today will be common tomorrow.  And then we’ll have to suffer through days of non-stop whispering about stuff we need.  Awesome!