Advertisement: How Much Is Too Much

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 2677 , Published on 12 February 2012

Does advertising really work, the answer is yes it most certainly does, but the key’s are how you advertise, where you advertise and what you say in your advertising. But somewhere down the line advertisers have veered off the path. Advertisements today plainly amalgamate with a paradox - where they totally disregard the value of a customer’s life and still proclaim to toil towards adding value to their lives.  Customers today are overwhelmed by loads of unnecessary poking and that too without their permission. Advertising methods are crafting nastiest experiences that customers have to endure. Too much information exhibit without someone’s conscious authorization or anticipation has become a bad, bad thing.


Modes have become excessively aggressive and infuriating. They intrude lives and happen to pollute the daily existence.

  • ‘Popups’ -Pops the brain. Provokes customers to howl and close the entire browser. They simply don’t let focus a customer on his/her core objective. Advertisements glue akin to fly on a pizza.
  • Customers are OK with ads, as long as they don’t try to cover the text, float across the page, or do something else extremely annoying. They repeatedly make us sense - either ‘we have clicked on the advertisement spot when we are damn sure we haven’t’, or ‘may be our computer is coming down with some nasty virus’.
  • We receive SMSs, calls or emails from unfamiliar sources. And funnier thing ensues when on enquiring the caller declares they just somehow own our details, making us feel as if in the e-arena we stand naked behind a one-sided see-through mirror.
  • Companies try to promote their stuff, and then try to make us give them all our details to get it, often in the form of registration logon pages.

You are relaxing back home by watching TV, trying to rest, unwind from a hard day at office. You switch on your TV and an Ad shrieks out. Do you have vulnerable family-members? Do you leave your home for work? But what if you never arrive back? Your forehead starts to sweat.  Seconds later your heart starts thumping in anxiety or panic. You portray your heart-rending demise and your family scraping for survival. Than advertiser comes to your rescue and thrusts some resolution.....don’t you feel violated?

Actually the mutual fight amidst competitors is breaching the personal space of the customers. A metaphor can be drawn here between two stalls playing respective jingles to catch customer’s attention, it’s reasonable to appreciate them as and when one passes by the stalls. But when stall owners start raising respective volumes to outdo the other, they are not advertising, but are creating clatter/commotion for the customer. The experience no longer delights the customer.

While using technology people want to help themselves by facilitating their life. Technological consoles are like windows through which we look at and manage our life. It’s true that almost all web applications (except few like Wikipedia) come bundled up with advertisements but serenity prevails till a customer can uninterruptedly pursue his/her motive. The moment advertisements start poking, they become nuisance. The best a customer can do to overcome the frustration is to never buy that product in revolt of the breach.

Few cunning advertisers have gone till the level of creating viruses which keep steering to particular websites. What the advertisers are actually doing - making the customer feel as if he is a fool hitting incorrect keys. In short producing an occurrence where customers feel as if their life is not under their command.

In real-life little can be generalized to predict and pin point customers’ choices which are driven by myriad moods and emotions. Similarly in digital world, where often today’s netizens storm internet to distress, nothing can be generalised by tracking cookies and recording random activities. Moreover what kind of impression was created on customers’ psyche by recent news bite - “Facebook is eavesdropping on your life”. Definitely users feel violated and cheated. They don’t have an immediate option to retaliate but can definitely someday push ‘Facebook’ the ‘Orkut’ way into obscurity, due to nonexistence of reasons for trustworthiness.

Conventionally advertisements materialized by using vibrant colours and physical displays. The advertisements used to achieve their motive by catching customer’s attention. But today advertisements are really making customers uncomfortable by tagging along and bothering them by holding on to them and twisting into their life. It feels good when someone let us know about available options but it feels scary when someone scares and threatens us by projecting our life cocooned in bad omens -like insurance ads.

Trespassers in advertisement world often prosecute themselves by repelling the customers. With the spread of the education and awareness the customers have become ‘rational’ in selecting the information as per their use from the inundated advertisement alleys. And exactly opposite has happened in the advertisement world, which is touching the zenith of ‘irrationality’.

Creative experiences (like Vodafone’s-Zoozoo ads) work best, which neither violate nor hurt self-worth by playing around with people’s intelligence. They pass the message creatively by aiming being “generally right” instead of being “precisely wrong”. The mantra is ‘listening deeply’ to customers’ needs and facilitating them -often by revolutionizing the CRM approach.

Success in the marketplace is often a matter of positive image making. This intangible value cannot be calculated on a balance sheet. It is largely generated by a higher level of standards that appeal to consumers’ unwritten moral code and sense of fair play. If the message does not ring true to the customers, they will lose confidence in the company’s dealings. Rather than increasing customer’s willingness-to-pay a company can even risk actual-participation with customer in future. Importantly, if recipient don’t believe what you say, it doesn’t matter how often, how cleverly, or how loudly you say it.

But even such ill-fated attempts to market oneself to success (which have proved detrimental) have done little to discourage others from making the same mistake.

Ultimately, on one hand information-flow has enabled us to enjoy and experience more in our smaller lifespan, but on the other hand contemporary advertisement approaches waste/steal our time. So, are advertisements really doing any good in our lives beyond a juncture?

This article has been authored by Gurkirat Singh from NITIE.

Image: nokhoog_buchachon /


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