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Uncaring advertisers and the platforms who support them

07 July 2014, 14:36
At present I work in the advertising field as a web designer and am quite irritated at the abuse imposed on users by advertisers who only care about their exposure and not about their users. I do understand the role of advertising and that there has to be some kind of way for these media institutions to keep on surviving, but it should not be at the cost of their audience. It seems to me that more often than not these companies bend over backwards to squash in all the amount of advertising they can into the smallest amount of time and space without regard to their audience.

The first culprit is public television. This is supposed to be there for the masses who cannot afford paid subscription channels. I do not normally watch public television but this Sunday I did settle in for the 8pm movie.

Their advertising slots during the movie are 5 minute ad slots every 15 minutes. It is completely absurd! The ad slots are not even edited in where it will make sense to do so, but are cut in at some of the most critical parts of the plot.

In the old days you used to have two, maybe 3 ad breaks, which was okay because you could make tea or go to the loo during the break. The breaks were also done very considerately to the viewer. Nowadays it seems just to see how many ads can be squashed into the shortest time frame to force their products on users who have no other option due to not being able to afford it.

Then when it hits 12pm suddenly there are pornographic ads running consecutively for another 5 minutes. While I do not personally have a problem with nudity per say, I do not think it is appropriate on a public viewing channel. They are targeting kids on cell phones since nobody in their right mind would subscribe to R5 per day subscription services when it can be downloaded for free online. Their is also a large part of the audience who finds it offensive and do not have a choice in the matter.

I would find it very interesting to know how much viewing time is given to advertising – I would not be surprised if it is a fifth.

My next pet peeve is on the digital front. While I do not think they are as bad as public television, there are a few things that really do annoy me and they have to do with mostly flash animations. I don't mind banner ads in the sidebar and even at the top of the screen, but I really cannot stand the following:

  • Popup video ads that load as you open the page – after it pops up you have to wait about 5 seconds to close the ad. If you are a culprit and are doing this please hear me loud and clear: “You are ruining your brand!” Nobody wants these ads forced on them. There are many ways to get your things seen, but this does not put you in a good light with your audience. It just alienates them further.

  • Popups that activate on hover. This is especially annoying when it is on a site that you frequently visit. They place the ads in places where you will need to move over with your pointer and then lo and behold a big hoo haa in the middle of the page.

  • Clickable white spaces. I often click in the white space so that I can use my mouse to scroll down the page and then some websites make it clickable and I have to close the ad or click back to another page while berating myself for clicking there... again.

  • Noisy flash ads that run over your screen. People don't want to listen to noises on their computers if they don't choose to do so.

Radio is also a culprit, although I have long given up on radio due to DJ's talking rubbish most of the time while I want to listen to music, and then also the lack of genre choice but that is a rant for another time.

I hope these things improve and that South Africa gets more competition. I think a large part of the problem here is due to monopolies hoarding our economy. Consumers get abused by advertisers, cell phone operators and government fat cats. We need to boycott advertisers who abuse the public if they do not want to listen to us. I'm not against advertising but their abuse is wrong and needs to be stopped. It would be great if these platforms and advertisers could do a bit of research and get input from their true clients, their audience without whom they would not continue to function.

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