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December 13, 2006


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» Web Ink Now: Interruption Marketing Hall of Shame from Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog
by: David Polinchock David Meerman Scott has started an Interruption Marketing Hall of Shame over at Web Ink Now and I thought that I would include his number 4 here. Valuable lesson here -- he's willing to boycott a mall... [Read More]

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We are permission marketers. We build active relationships between our clients brands and their consumers, and those relationships are built on trust and shared passions. But one of the best things about having an established relationship with [Read More]


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I am so glad you blogged about this! I too am driven crazy by incessant, inescapable noise (auditory and otherwise).

I would like to nominate Shaws/Star Market - my local Shaw's installed video screens throughout the store and in the checkout isles running infoadverts ("informational segments" that promote certain products). I don't know how widespread this is in the Shaw's chain as I no longer shop there - I took my business to Hannaford where I can shop in peace.

Annoying customers is not the way to earn their business! Perhaps if enough people scream about this the marketers will be forced to hear us through all the noise.

Lena L. West

Thank GOD someone with a brain has finally said it!! And, all along, I thought it was me being picky and grumpy. When I get off a flight or am transferring to another leg of my trip, after flying for 5 hours, I don't want to be met with blaring news and loud a** commercials. Noise-cancelling headphones can't work miracles and no amount of meditation audio can outstrip one of these 'blare boxes' - believe me, I've tried!

The worst thing is even though I don't watch the news that often, I REALLY hate to even BYPASS the CNN channel. I'm sick to death of it. Really.

As my friend James says: CNN is broadcasting live from WTMI (too much info) - always info, always too much!

-Lena L. West
CEO, http://www.xynoMedia.com
Creator, http://www.TechnologyDiet.com

C. B. Whittemore

What a great concept, creating an Interruption Marketing Hall of Shame. And what perfect first inductees! Thank you!

Lena L. West

Hey David:

We're not the only ones annoyed by Interruption Marketing. Take a look at a recent Godin post:


I guess we can add Rhapsody to the list. But, there should be a list called Interruption Marketing Idiots by Proxy...I don't think this was intentionally done by the folks at Rhapsody but, the fact that they have advertising that undermines their business objective (people listening to music on their site) is plain dumb.

-Lena L. West
CEO, http://www.xynoMedia.com
Creator, http://www.TechnologyDiet.com

Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound

My pet peeve is websites that blast an audio message without first asking my permission.

I was working late last week while someone was asleep in the bedroom next to my home office.

I visited a website while working on my laptop, unaware that I had forgotten to mute the sound, which I usually do late at night.

The website owner's voice came blasting out of my speakers "Hi, I'm...and blah-blah-blah" and there was no way for me to turn it down quickly. I panicked and pulled the laptop cord out of the wall socket. It switched to "battery mode" and the voice kept blaring.

I quickly closed the laptop, hoping the voice would go away and she kept babbling on about why I should do business with her.

I pushed down on the cover of the laptop and, by doing so, finally made the voice go away. In the process, I could have damaged the computer.

How incredibly annoying and inconsiderate.

I'd out her. But she's a business friend with whom I have a good relationship.

Stefan Weiß

What is the net sales impact of interuption marketing? If organisations are increasing their overall revenues there is no reason why they should not do it. And the guys who sold the screens are happy, too.

Glenn Nicholas

I'm going to nominate content sites (that should behave better) in general for dropping in those highly distracting moving-flash-ads right in the middle of your content. To name-and-shame a specific case, I'll point to The Age newspaper (www.theage.com.au) in Melbourne - one of our better news papers in Australia, and one that I hoped would do better. They place a moving flash ad in the primary content area of their main articles. When they started doing this, I found myself putting my hand up so I could read the article. When I noticed *that*, I took them out of my daily bookmarks.

Ads are fine on content sites (although I've been influenced by your writing David and personally believe there are far better ways to obtain value from good content). But if the interruption value of the ad distracts too much from the actual content ... surely advertisers can't pay a content site enough to justify so much distraction they destroy the content value!

Maybe there is some kind of golden mean here - the strength of the content vs the distraction value of the ads - that should guide content sites in making decisions on advertising. Content marketers could use this as a metric and test, test, test ...

Ron Shevlin

Here's my submission. I call Citibank to activate my new card -- and the woman on the line won't let me go until she's asked me if I want to sign up for: 1) security protection, 2) late payment protection, 3) another card ... and so on. All I wanted to do was activate my card. If they were smart, they'd push that stuff online, not on the phone.


thank you.
As a publicist, I know the challenge of a cluttered message landscape. But the solution is to craft a more compelling message, not annoy audiences by:
-playing loud audio on a website unexpectedly
-hitting visitors with an ad immediately (Forbes.com)
or worse, video (Wii)
-online ads that swoop into the page you're reading - AUGH!
I've seen ads in elevators (elevators! How on earth are we supposed to do an elevator pitch?)?

If marketers are determined to leave no moment of quiet untouched...when are we supposed to make purchasing decisions? I don't want to feel mugged by marketers and if print media were smart they'd stress that ALL their ads are Opt in.

Bill Wallace

Great post and argument but ... it's all part of the evolution game in marketing really, isn't it?
1. Companies push the envelope to see what they can get away with.
2. the general public begin to feel assaulted and complain
3. the companies (those with any sense) get the feedback (like here) and modify to an acceptable level.
In the end, people are happy overall. Don't get me wrong, media needs some accountability at its foundations but it is Joe Public, when we speak out, that forms that accountability. Yes?

C.B. Whittemore

I have just posted about a new inductee to the Hall of Shame - LabCorp - at http://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com. This may be part of the evolution in marketing, but it also means that marketers have to be more sensitive and aware than ever of the repurcussions of being on the receiving end.


If we were conducting a national contest, I would award first place for unacceptable Interruption Marketing to XM Radio. Listeners pay a monthly premium to receive commercial-free
music. As of late, we are being subjected to annoying and
repetitive voiceover infomercials.
It's time to break out the ipod and CDs.

David Polinchock

This is a favorite topic of mine and we've written about this kind of subject a lot! As we just said on our blog -- If everyone in the advertising industry believes that 2007 is the year of the consumer, why do we still get all excited about new advertising vehicles that the consumer can’t turn off? Either they’re in control folks or they’re not! Our #4 prediction (http://tinyurl.com/y3cmyd) is that the advertising backlash will continue due to this kind of approach to advertising. As we say, it's time to captivate, not capture, your audience!

David Meerman Scott

David P -- thanks for stopping by and for the posts you have done on this topic. I'm glad there is a dialog about it. Note that I emailed a lionk to this post to the PR people at each of the inductees into the Hall of Shame and got no responses at all... Cheers, David S

David Polinchock


Hey, I just ran across Captive Audience that's fighting against ads in movie theatres. You should take a look ata piece we just wrote about them at http://tinyurl.com/2bxw5m As we like to say, "People in captivity always revolt."

Charlie Cook

The irony of your post is that you are using Interruptive Marketing to get your reader's attention in this post. And it worked.

Not all Interruptive Marketing is bad. Actually it's good. For example the title of this post, "Interruption Marketing Hall of Shame" got my attention and got me to read the post, which is what Interruptive Marketing is supposed to do - help people get what they want - without annoying them.

David Meerman Scott

I don't agree, Charlie. You choose to be here. I don't choose to listen to CNN when I am in the airport.

David Kamerer

Sony should be in the Interruption Marketing Hall of Shame for the ads that appear at the beginning of its Blu-Ray movies. It's a long commercial and you can't skip it. Irony #1: they know you're watching it on Blu-Ray. Repeat: you have already bought the product. Irony #2: the commercial goes on and on about how Blu-Ray gives the user control. And yet, you're forced to watch it. Its sole purpose appears to be to make you hate the morons who created it.

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