Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Advances In Advertising?

Years ago, I majored in undergraduate school in journalism with an advertising emphasis. I even worked in advertising and public relations for a while.

That was before the Internet was so much a part of our society.

Now, I’m utterly amazed sometimes at the interference of advertising onto my computer screen!

Okay, I realize that advertising had to change so companies could make people aware of their products in even more creative ways. TV ads are sometimes a lot of fun to watch--like many of those produced by General Electric. They’re amusing and worth taking the time to see. But I admit that I have a DVR and often will skip over boring ads if I have enough time stored up to do so. If I can’t skip them physically, I’ll skip them mentally unless they grab my attention.

It’s similar with radio. People will often buy and download songs they want to hear rather than listening to them played randomly on the radio--along with ads. Print newspapers and magazines, although they contain ads, aren’t read today as much as they used to be.

More creative places to advertise had to be found.

I decided yesterday to write my blog post this week on advertising when I was both amazed and irritated at the effrontery of an advertiser. I’d noticed that some links to what used to be news stories on a local newspaper’s website are actually ads. I’d clicked on one to find out about the hot cross buns available at Panera Bread. My choice. But while I was reading the “news story,” my computer was hijacked by a runaway ad for some kind of truck. My screen was suddenly filled with the blade of a buzz saw slicing down the middle, followed by a huge, colorful picture of a speeding vehicle in some kind of race with falling logs, and it took me a second to realize I was seeing an advertisement. I clicked off immediately--and knew what I’d be blogging about today.

Yes, it was creative. It was eye-catching. It was also irritating.

It’s not the first time something like this has happened to me, although it’s the most egregious so far. I’ve sometimes had to wait for an ad to finish playing before an online crossword puzzle will appear. The puzzle itself was free, so I understood why the site owner might sell an ad to get revenue for posting it. Of course, I usually keep the sound on my computer turned off, so it’s not always as annoying as it could be. Other times, I’ll have to click on something in the corner of my screen to skip an ad and go on to whatever site I was aiming for.

Bothersome? Yes. But that’s often the nature of advertising. It’s gotten more creative in some ways now, but in other ways it’s still the same.

So... while you’re reading this about advertising, I’ll toss in a plug for my latest book, BEAGLEMANIA, the first Pet Rescue Mystery from Berkley Prime Crime, a spinoff series from my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries. At least take a look at the adorable cover. It’ll convince you to buy the book, and, let me tell you, it’s a good cozy mystery.

End of spiel. End of BSP (blatant self promotion) for the moment, too.

What do you like--or dislike--about advertising these days?

Oh, and by the way, I guest blogged this week on Sirens of Suspense. For every comment posted, they’re giving $1 to pet rescue--and you get entered into a drawing to win a copy of BEAGLEMANIA. So... please go comment!!.html


Betty Hechtman said...

I like a lot of the ads on TV. Some are better than the shows. However, I find the ads online just plain annoying and ignore all of them.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I agree, Betty. I'm now faced with full-screen ads every time I log into my email accounts! I don't even look to see what they're promoting.

Julie said...

The way THE VOLUME GOES UP WHEN THE COMMERCIAL COMES ON!!!!! Hate it, hate it, hate it. There are some cute commercials on, but the volume thing just kills me. Not a fan of pop-ups or the kind of ad you described which hijacks your computer, either. An ad you have to watch to play a free game is okay, though. The game is free, after all.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I AGREE WITH YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE VOLUME, JULIE, ON TV AND THE RADIO! You're right about the game, although I usually switch screens while the ad is playing.

Monica Ferris said...

I worked for a couple of years for a big advertising agency and was amazed and amused at the pickiness of the process of making an ad or designing the label for a product. What I found interesting was that, in reading Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers, written in the 1920s, was how much of the business was the same.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm curious whether there are a lot of differences now, Monica, with the varieties of new media. The goals and planning may be similar, though.

Rose, Washington State, USA said...

It seems there are more & more ways the media tries to grab our attention in 30 seconds or less. TV runs multiple ads & mine has no pause, so I use the break to refill my coffee.

We used to wait mail via a rural carrier & now many use email.
The postal service has announced closing 2,000 offices soon.

Sorry your email has pop ups. It maybe time to check your browser options, help section, check on updates, call your computer support person or run a spyware program.

I think I've seen the chain ad on a news site recently. It covered the whole top of the screen!