Cutting Through the Marketing Noise

How many of you have signed up for a credit card or a discount site just to save that extra dollar on a purchase, only to regret it the next morning when the spam––sorry––marketing campaign begins? Every search, purchase, “like,” download, post, and check-in is captured and analyzed so that companies can effectively and efficiently market their brands to targeted audiences. For the consumer, this means tens (if not hundreds) of emails each day, sponsored links on Facebook timelines, ads in apps, and strategically placed advertisements in both web pages and search results.

From a consumer standpoint, every day is a battle of the spam. I have gone to great lengths to limit my exposure to the onslaught of marketing campaigns. I do not “like” or follow companies/brands on social media, I filter all my emails, I fast-forward through commercials on my DVR, I browse incognito and frequently clear my history, cookies, and cache. I’ve even gone as far as setting up a new email account to escape the plethora of junk email from various sites and promotions that I signed up for.

This week, I came across an advertisement that caught me by surprise. I’ve gone back to the advertisement about a dozen times and have shared it with my coworkers and family. The advertisement was for Avis, and the advertising was done brilliantly. I was reading one of my favorite magazines on my iPad when I came to the dreaded “advertising spread.” Here is the moment that, with one swift swipe of a finger, I would turn the page and move on to reading another article. Something strange happened: The advertisement was shaking on the screen with the big, bright words “SHAKE ME” at the bottom.

I suddenly had the urge to shake my iPad, just to see what would happen. To my dismay, the error message (below) popped up, as I was in a PATH station without a Wi-Fi connection––fail.

While on the train, all I could think of was what would happen next!! As soon as I reached my stop, I hurried out of the station, headed to the first Starbucks I could find, and started shaking my iPad furiously. What happened next was a bit disappointing: The car turned into a room, and I could keep shaking my iPad to change the setting to a different room (three options in all). There was a link that I could click on to customize my room of choice, but I suddenly didn’t have the urge to invest additional time into the advertisement.

On a positive note, this is a perfect example of a company being able to “cut through the noise.” There was no QR code, no link, no survey––just a simple statement that tickled my curiosity. This advertisement, however, did have some flaws. First, the entire interaction relies on the user being connected to the Internet. Even though I was intrigued enough to run to the nearest Starbucks, there could be as many (or more) users who were deterred and wouldn’t shake again. Secondly, the concept was better than the message that was delivered. Maybe this was intentional, but the only thing I can remember from the ad besides the “Shake Me” is the car morphing into a room, which still befuddles me today. Either way, the advertising worked as planned. Avis is now permanently branded (pun intended) into my head and I have shared this ad with anyone who would listen.

Now onto what matters … Analytics!!!

This advertisement is a prime of example of interactive advertising that was made possible by the gyroscope and accelerometer technology built into the iPad. A study performed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau found a direct correlation between the effectiveness of an ad and the type of mobile advertising utilized (static, animated or interactive). Interactive ads were most frequently considered engaging, innovative, and memorable. Not surprisingly, interactive ads were found to be both the least boring and the least ordinary (see chart below). Reading the study reaffirmed my belief in the effectiveness of the Avis advertisement.

Image from Internet Advertising Bureau UK (iab)

For now, the marketing directors have won. I will continue to be intrigued by interactive advertisements. So if you see me walking on the street or around the office shaking my iPad, do not fret. I haven’t gone mad––I’m either using my iPad as an Etch A Sketch or I am testing out the latest “Shake Me” ad! Let’s just hope I have a Wi-Fi connection to view it!

Author: Michael Hiney


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