Crimes Against Humanity: Advertising Edition

October 1st, 2015 Posted by digital tools, Human behavior, Insight, Navigation, Uncategorized 0 comments on “Crimes Against Humanity: Advertising Edition”

Ushering in the dawn of passion-based engagement.

online advertising frustration

Fed up with online ad intrusion:
“At least 34% of all U.S. adults use ad blockers.” (Ad Age, 2015)

According to a recent report from the Center for Media Research, people are increasingly –

  • Fed up with incessant banner ads, obnoxious pop-ups, and videos that automatically start playing when you load a page
  • Fed up with full-screen takeovers that force you to find, and click, a tiny “x” before you can read the article you actually sought out
  • Fed up with cookies and widgets that track their every move online, allowing advertisers to target them on mobile with increasing precision and generating further unwanted intrusion – which unschooled marketers might actually credit themselves for being ‘disruptive’

Advertising is broken. It doesn’t work because people aren’t engaging with it. They’re avoiding it. So just who murdered the media? We did. Every single one of us. Slayers all. In the dark alley of shift in attitude and behavior we’ve left traditional media business models on the ground gasping for air. We vote everyday by way of our hard-nosed preference for relevant, useful even helpful content instead of disruptive ad messaging. Our thirst for knowledge, validation and understanding is virtually unquenchable.

Symptomatic of the paranoia over declining relevance, Ad Age recently ran a story about what content might cost if ad supported media were without the ad supporting part – subscription TV fees up by at least 50%.

It’s telling to try and justify interruption tactics on the basis of that antiquated song in the media hymnal: we’re trading access to content for eyeballs – so we can interrupt and presumably persuade?

The consumer world is done with hype over help. Where do we go from here in relevant brand marketing strategies? Read on…

We’ve entered the new age of Passion-Based Engagement. Brands that mine the behaviors, concerns, interests of their users and look to connect in more meaningful and helpful ways.

It’s a vertical world of important passions that offer rich territory to connect and build relationships based on reciprocity – the foundation of a new attention-barter economy that leads to “permission to sell” via respectful engagement.

Think lifestyle priorities!

  • Moms who laser-focus on parenting practices and appreciate guidance
  • Home cooks and culinary enthusiasts who are all about food experiences
  • Invested pet parents whose lives revolve around a pet care relationship
  • Outdoor experience aficionados and their passion for adventure sports
  • Fashion fans whose self-image is tied to their in-the-moment fashionable-ness
  • Heart-is-in-the-home buffs who enjoy fixing, improving, decorating
  • Health and wellness devotees who look for lifestyle enhancements and help

Drive for insight then drive for relevance. Content created around these interests reflect a strategic objective to get close to customers on a more human level. This is where engagement exists now. Run at the passions and become an enabler.

Imagine a world where brands look beyond the products they make to become service providers in the arenas where their users play, live and invest time!

Or you can continue throwing interruptive sales messages at the proverbial wall hoping something sticks? Click…


Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent Healthy Living. Emergent provides integrated brand strategy, communications and insight solutions to national food, beverage, home and lifestyle companies.  Emergent’s unique and proprietary transformation and growth focus helps organizations navigate, engage and leverage consumers’ desire for higher quality, healthier product or service experiences that mirror their desire for  higher quality lifestyles. For more information, contact [email protected] and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

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