I hate advertising. I hate people trying to sell me stuff when I do not want it. If I see someone trying to be friendly to me on the street in order to get my attention for some charity, I avoid eye contact and go about my day. If you want to sell me stuff, why can’t you do it on my terms, when I want it?
I am not alone in feeling this way. There are a lot of people who download shows to avoid watching ads, install Adblock plus on their computers to watch YouTube clips in peace and almost religiously say “no” to big-brand advertising. People will often think less of products which look like they are being “pushed”.
However, if you do want to sell to me, here are my terms:
Ask, do not assume
Often I feel I am being bombarded by advertising messages from companies that want to increase “brand awareness”. I am not sure what that means; however, if you want my attention, ask, be polite and then make your pitch.
If I am enjoying a different activity, that is not an invitation for you to pitch something completely unrelated.
This rule is often violated with TV commercials, YouTube advertising, street advertising or anyone else putting their needs ahead of mine. I am the one with the money, and I am saying no because finally, after decades of technological incapacity, I now have the tools to fight back.
Drop the stupid smiles and phony accents
Nothing is more annoying to me than seeing these smiling advertising robots freshly rolled out of the Ken and Barbie factory.
I like to think of myself as an educated person who is slightly elevated above the baser instincts. Even though you might be a model in the eyes of everyone else; to me, you are just a stupid bimbo—a corporate hookerusing your allure in an attempt to get my money.
Advertising agencies know we want to be pretty, healthy, successful and rich, so images intended to convey this are often connected with what we buy—even when it is completely unrelated.
Since ads have to appeal to the widest audience possible, they get simplified and dumbed down which results in ads that have lost all connection with reality.
Stop lying and add value to my life
Nothing is more frustrating than having to choose from dreadful options. Try, for instance, to pick out a car that does not look like a bar of soap. Yet, for some reason, car companies like to point out to us how outstanding their vehicles look when I would not have been able to pick out any of their brands from a police line up.
Also, can you please put some real quality into your products? We have the Internet now, so we can google your reviews. If your product stinks, we’ll find out.
Maybe I stopped drinking Coke because I somehow, miraculously, had the epiphany that drinking sugar or artificial sweeteners might not be good for my body. Maybe I decided to disconnect from the notion of buying my way to happiness because it did not make sense to me.
So, dear brand manager, if I have your attention, listen up: Ask for my attention and treat me with respect and intelligence. Stop lying and add value to my life.
If you have the listening skills of a bad recruiter, I will ignore you. If I think your products and services are crap, I will say no. If your corporate clients can´t accept that, please know that I don´t care.