Imagine you go to the same pub every night.
You like the pub, you like the beer.
It’s quiet and friendly, some nights you meet your mates there, some nights you just sit and read the paper.
Then a bloke starts coming over to you and talking loudly, uninvited.
He’s not interested in whether you want to talk of not, he doesn’t care if you’re listening.
He just talks and talks at you and then goes away.
The next night he comes and does it again, it’s a bit irritating.
In fact, he begins coming over every few minutes and talking at you, interrupting with some boring stuff you’re not remotely interested in.
He begins talking to you when you’re drinking, when you’re in the middle of talking, even when you go to the gents, you can’t get away from him.
Eventually there’s no choice, you and your mates have to find another pub.
That’s exactly how ad blocking works.
Media companies have decided it doesn’t really matter what an ad is saying, as long as it’s getting its message in front of you every possible second.
Interrupt whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re up to.
It’s called ‘targeting’.
Doesn’t matter whether you’re interested or not – gotcha.
Doesn’t matter whether you’re busy – gotcha.
Doesn’t matter whether… – gotcha.
Doesn’t… – gotcha.
Does it make you listen to the boring guy just because you can’t escape him?
So why would it make crappy ads work any better just because they target you every second of the day?
But that’s media thinking – gotcha. And again – gotcha.
Well the only way to avoid the boring guy is to change pubs, so that’s what we do.
We change away from the source of the boredom.
Which is why 12.2 million people are using ad-blocking, according to Marketing Week.
That’s 22% of UK users of desktop computers, laptops, and mobile phones.
The fact that the boring guy targets us efficiently doesn’t make us passively accept him.
It won’t make us passively accept highly targeted crappy ads either.
The only thing that will make us put up with being interrupted by a stranger is if he or she is interesting and entertaining.
If they contribute to our evening in some way.
In which case, we’re perfectly happy to enjoy the diversion and listen to it.
Why shouldn’t it be exactly the same with advertising or anything else?
If it’s fun, charming, enjoyable then we’re happy to listen, maybe even share it.
Advertising and marketing used to understand this.
Even salesmen knew the door would get slammed in their face otherwise.
They didn’t think the answer was ‘targeting’: to keep ringing the door-bell every sixty seconds, to call through the letterbox, shout down the chimney, knock on the kitchen window, yell through the cat flap.
Pester people every possible second of the day whatever they’re doing.
This ‘targeting’ with dull annoying intrusions is actually a giant step backwards.
Instead of improving the quality of what we do, we’re just concentrating on increasing the quantity.
It doesn’t matter if it’s crap, as long as we hit them with it often enough.
Well, if it doesn’t work in the pub why should it work anywhere else?
I think we’re wasting a lot of money finding out quantity doesn’t beat quality.