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The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter
Ponder, Scribble, Ponder (Photo Erdotahi Aron)

Guest Nutter/Kindred Soul: Bill Bailey

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Sunday, 2 September 2007

Counterproductive Advertising

New Scientist is running some ads on for Channel 4 in the UK - specifically for a programme called "Dumped".

Now, I don't mind advertising as long as the advert is designed to catch my eye rather than to reach out and grab me by the gonads.

This particular ad is unfortunately of the latter kind. It's not just a static ad it animates on "roll-over", i.e. when the cursor passes over the ad rectangle, and in this case illustrates the issue one presumes is to be addressed in the program, that of rubbish spilling all over the place and spoiling the environment. Like this...

Congratulations! You succeeded beyond your wildest dreams: online advertising rubbish is a menace. Every time I drag the cursor to the scroll bar I get the animation; and once the rubbish has been dumped all over my screen clicking anywhere in the bounding rectangle (the red box) - such as to click a blog link - opens a Channel 4 web page.

Even when it just ate my screen space it was so infuriating that I complained to New Scientist about them accepting and running the ad, Channel 4 for approving it and whoever designed it.

But when I discovered that it also caught clicks too more drastic action was required. Enter AdBlock Plus (0.7.5.1) for Firefox.

A short while later, after digging around in the page source code to find the right URL's to block the ad is gone... and so are all the other ads!

So the solution to online ad rubbish is simply an online bin man/refuse collector/waste management executive... but what a good job it doesn't all accumulate in some internent "landfill" site. Maybe it should though - what fun to be had. Let's build a garbage heap in Second Life and send all these ads there.

In concluding irony: brilliant! Annoy your target audience so much you lose all advertising benefits! Is that what you would call a successful ad campaign?

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