Advertising clutter & how consumers are rebelling… creatively

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Every advertiser will preach the importance of relevance in where they advertise and what they communicate in their advertising. However, too many of them get caught up in GRP and impression thinking without considering true relevance. As a consequence, consumers ignore much of the advertising in the world at large, or worse actively undermine it.

Through the empowerment of technology and the self-confidence and activist spirit of many younger people, there is a growing group of consumers who are fighting the invasive aspect of advertising clutter. Marketers need to be aware of this movement because it may catch surprising momentum. It is important that marketers realise that advertising is the front line manifestation of the distrust of big companies by today’s youth. These people see ads everywhere that are selling selling selling versus providing true value, and then they get irritated.

A recent manifestation of this advertising rebellion is the “Skip Ad Project“: a community of people who place stickers of the Youtube “skip ad” graphic on outdoor billboards. The goal is to get passersby to become aware of the clutter of irrelevant advertising. The hope is that this will put greater pressure on advertisers to be more conscious about providing true value and thus not contribute to the “visual pollution” that suffocates cities around the world. Have a look at what people have done in New York City, Sao Paolo, and Stockholm.

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A great way to think about providing true relevance is applying thorough storytelling principles to media and connections thinking. What are people doing in a dedicated place where an advertiser wants to advertise? What is their state of mind? What could be really helpful for them? How can a message (story element) make the moments after seeing the ad more pleasurable, more happy, more satisfied – in other words, better? Great filmmakers think this way to make an overall experience with a Brand (the movie) incredibly satisfying and totally worth the time spent. Advertisers need to think in the exact same way. The importance of “the audience” over the story (or message in the case of advertising) is nicely brought to life by a TEDx speech by Julian Friedmann.

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