How Effective is Annoying Advertising?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

How Effective is Annoying Advertising?

With hundreds of TV channels competing more and more furiously for our attention, it is no surprise that advertisers are being increasingly controversial. Sometimes they make mistakes and accidentally breach the advertising codes. But much more often it’s a deliberate marketing tactic.

Advertising is a funny business. Literally. Look at enough ad agency portfolios and you’ll see so much comedy that you’ll start to wonder if the only successful approach is humor. “Entertain the audience” seems to be the common theme underpinning the material. But what if funny, entertaining ads aren’t the most effective? Sure everyone talks about that “funny commercial I saw last night,” but who was it for?

Meanwhile, the parent company who permanently etched the expression “HeadOn, apply directly to the forehead” into our brains saw its sales shoot up 234% following the debut of its repetitive ad campaign. And don’t forget “Clap on, clap off. The Clapper!”

Nick Hall, head of marketing at British financial services company Go Compare, a company with famously annoying ads in their own market, explains the paradox: “When you create a campaign with a sonic trigger – a jingle that gets into your head – you develop a love/hate relationship with your audience. The important thing is to increase recall, cut through and stand out.”

This is fine advice for television marketing, where advertisers have the luxury of 30 second spots to make their cases, but how well does annoying advertising work at creating brand recognition in other venues?

Consider web advertising. Anyone who has spent any amount of time on the Internet has encountered annoying web ads: flashing, blinking, dancing silhouettes, screens darkening as pop ups appear, promising to show you “one weird trick” to lose weight or whiten teeth. But where a television audience is held captive by commercials, web users are one click from freedom – or at least a different, less annoying set of ads. In extreme cases, users have become so fed up that they install ad blockers in their web browsers, costing web site owners much needed revenue.

Web advertising is marketing to a very jaded audience, and many marketers haven’t quite worked out how to capture their attention. Though bright colors are still an effective way to draw attention, flashing, seizure-inducing graphics may not. The closest to a “success” in web advertising is YouTube’s five-second ad preview before a video begins. Even then, competition has helped draw customers away from YouTube to other video services with less intrusive advertising, like Vimeo and Ustream.

When it comes to marketing and communication, we want to measure both satisfaction and dissatisfaction, positive and negative. If you put a big ad for jewelry in front of 100 people, you might get two people to click on it. And if you make it really annoying and intrusive, you might get five to click. But what about the 95 that didn’t click? To get those five clicks, how annoyed did you make the 95?

At Matcha Design, we skillfully and carefully study your business, your particular marketing goal, and your audience before creating your online advertising campaign. With many successful advertising campaigns under our belt, we are well versed in the world of web advertising and know how to attract attention rather than drive it away. We have the necessary expertise to turn your internet ad campaign into a rousing success. Call us today and let us help you make it happen.

About Matcha Design

Matcha Design is a full-service creative B2B agency with decades of experience executing its client’s visions. The award-winning company specializes in web design, logo design, branding, marketing campaign, print, UX/UI, video production, commercial photography, advertising, and more. Matcha Design upholds the highest personal standards for excellence and can see things from a unique perspective due to its multicultural background.  The company consistently delivers custom, high-quality, innovative solutions to its clients using technical savvy and endless creativity. For more information, visit

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