I started a tongue-in-cheek group on Facebook entitled “People who’ve never deliberately clicked on a banner ad”. I did it to poke fun at some of the advertising conventions ad agencies and their clients have tried to drag onto the internet.
I started a tongue-in-cheek group on Facebook entitled “People who’ve never deliberately clicked on a banner ad”. I did it to poke fun at some of the advertising conventions ad agencies and their clients have tried to drag onto the internet. One of the favorites, and a clear sign the agency is still wading around in 20th century garb, is the elaborate flash introduction to what site viewers really want – information. They used to say the most widely read words in the English language were on matchbooks. “Close Cover Before Striking”. Now, it has to be “Skip Intro”. Does anyone really sit through the those intros?
Here’s an example. I want an HDTV 1080i LCD tv. I want specs. Not this interminable flash catalogue on the Toshiba Regza site. (I see they’ve added a discreet link to let you see the list of models, like it’s some sort of tawdry servants-only side door into the site.)
What about The New York Times’ “skip this advertisement”? Did you ever wait to see the ad before moving your cursor over the skip link and clicking?
Forbes Magazine tries to gussy up its intro ads by offering you the option (this is hilarious) to “skip this welcome screen”. I know I’m always welcoming people into my house by offering them the chance to hear a pitch for BMW or a Trump property. Do the people at Forbes think anyone sees that message as anything more than a lie?
How many people want to listen to the looping euro-trash music you’re surprised with on innumerable sites?
Samsung’s style is a little more new-agey than most, but here’s the funniest thing about that page. Once you find the little speaker icon on the Samsung welcome page and click on it…the music doesn’t stop. (The icon is buried down on the right hand lower corner, so it follows most ‘turn off the music’ conventions)
Someone must’ve told the newspaper industry that capturing names and ages of online readers was a good thing, because I’m periodically asked for my age and gender (or to “help us by filling out this survey”) before I can actually read the article I’m interested in reading. The Detroit Free Press would be surprised to find out I’m not actually a 90-year old woman, which is how I usually fill out the form, unless I’m in a hurry, in which case I just move on to another site.
Once I started the Facebook group mentioned above, I was half-surprised how fast it began to get populated with members. It’s just as useless as some of the other Facebook groups I’ve started, like “I’m shorter than Dave Linabury”, or “I hate people who stop walking all of a sudden”.
But I shouldn’t be.
People don’t click on things they didn’t come to the site to see in the first place. Nor do they visit sites to see some jerky nearly-stop-motion (depending on your connection speed) model “helping” you find the exact Regza tv you want.
That’s not to say flash is always bad. Philips had a brilliant site for a disgusting product, their body hair shaver thing. It was all flash, and very entertaining. It’s been changed now, unfortunately, but that flash animation what the reason you came to the site, not a gate you had to go through to get to what you really wanted in the first place.
I imagine you’ve got your own feelings about this. Let me know what they are. I promise if you want to leave a comment you won’t have to sit through an intro to do so.
This post originally appeared on Campbell Ewald’s discontinued “The Next Engine” blog.