Dial ‘M’ for Murder me

Dial ‘M’ for Marketing: ”


Monday, January 8, 2007


Dial ‘M’ for Marketing

January 08, 2007

By Kenneth Hein

NEW YORK — It’s a grey winter day for train commuters on the Northeast Corridor. Crammed into his seat on his way into Manhattan, a businessman uses his cell phone to log onto Weather.com just to see if there’s some sunshine on the way. The forecast comes up on the phone’s screen: ‘Seventeen inches of snow expected by the weekend.’ The commuter moans aloud. Just then, a bright blue banner ad with white lettering pops up on and grabs his attention. ‘Aruba,’ it says.

Which gets the businessman thinking. It has been a long time since he’s had a vacation. He clicks on the banner ad, and his phone dials an 800 number, connecting him to an Aruba Tourism booking agent.”

If anyone ever wants to know why I dislike most advertising, it’s because the people who create it think like this.

The premise that a BANNER AD on my CELLPHONE is, will, or even COULD BE perceived as a choir of angels is idiocy.

The “reality” is – the Aruba ad most likely interrupted or stood between me and the forecast I went online to get in the first place.

Cranky? Perhaps – but I’m not alone.

According to a study of 2,000 users conducted by Weekly Reader Research, Stamford, Conn., on Brandweek’s behalf. Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., found 79% of consumers are turned off by the idea of ads on their phones and a mere 3% of respondents said they trust text ads.

“Relevance” is a new buzzword. Everyone thinks all they have to do is make their message “relevant” and it’s full steam ahead.

The problem is that they don’t really know what’s relevant to you. They only know what you’re looking for – so they’ll take every connection imaginable to that 1 sliver of information – and use it to justify sticking all kinds of seemingly relevant messages in between you and what you’re really after.

Obviously, to some people, the Aruba ad mentioned above appears “relevant”. It’s not.

It’s relevant to people looking to book a trip to Aruba, not to someone who wants to know if they should buy a new snow shovel on the way home tonight.

There’s no market for messages.

There’s a thin market for relevant messages.

Creative license for 6 degrees of separation does not a relevant ad make.


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