Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Intrusion + Interruption: Positioning the advertising?

We've talked about banner blindness, ad deflation and the general tendency of users to despise unrequested interruption online...and offline.  And yet, the online ad industry sees fit to shout out that the web needs more intrusion and disruption if the ad business is to combat these ills. 


  1. Three new formats are proposed by the Online Publishers Association (here). These new 'super banners' will eliminate the annoying tendency of banners to get out of the way when a user scrolls, to suffer from 'banner blindness' and generally being ignored, and require a site's users to pay...with their attention.
  2. VideoEgg calls for more intrusion and awareness to salvage the online medium as a branding medium, using 'interruption, cool, and rich media' (here)
  3. Short Tail Media (you just know where this is headed) CEO David Payne calls for a return to the successful tactics of the 1950s, when TV invented the successful approach to interruption + attention we now call ads. (here).
We can all agree that publishers need better ways to monetize content. And that's an entirely different post. The challenge with the publishing business going back to what it's known is, well, going backward...not forward. 

The best part of the whole debate about interruption is that, online, it's a thoroughly testable proposition. We need not debate the search-based approach to advertising (the unintrusive kind)...we know it works and why. But for the very few sites that truly command monopoly attention (um, the Short Tail sites?), forcing users to endure interruptive advertising may work...I say go for it, and let us all know how that turns out for you! 

For the other 110 million sites that aren't ESPN or CNN and who have to compete for the long- tail user's attention, beware: an interruptive ad experience may just define your site's brand experience in totality. It would be a sad day indeed when an online brand ends up positioning itself based on its advertising style.

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