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Content marketing: floating ads still don’t get our attention

June 27, 2010

So there I was, happily logging into my yahoo email on Sunday afternoon when, lo and behold, a spaceman starts floating around my computer screen. OK, an experience like this is not especially unusual, but it usually occurs much later in the evening after the Newcastle Browns I’ve consumed to make more bearable my wife’s TV viewing of Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters have started to kick in.

But given this was only 5:30 p.m. and I was stone-cold sober, it took me a little by surprise. Curious as to what had interrupted my browsing, my eyes followed the bouncy astronaut across the page, where he landed… surprise, surprise… in an ad. The culprit? Dish Network.

This got me thinking about two things:

* Finally realizing that hardly anybody clicks on banner ads (even the cool ones) these days, marketers are becoming increasingly creative in the ways in which they now grab our attention online. Bouncing astronauts (Dish Network), dancing girls (Tostitos) and an animated mouse that races at break-neck speed across the page (Cable One), the Flash design whizzkids are continually coming up with devious little tricks to interrupt what we are doing and draw our attention to their sales messages.

* This creativity, while at face value is fun and interesting, highlights the lengths marketers have to go to in order to attract the attention of a consumer who has become increasingly immune to – and disinterested in – traditional advertising. Don’t get me wrong – I’m as entertained as the next guy by the flair and technical execution of an innovative piece of creative, but if you have to “hire” a bouncing astronaut to get me to show an interest in your brand, there’s something wrong.

So this is what happens now:

I browse.

I notice the astronaut jumping across the screen.

I trace his movement back to the Dish Network ad.

I see that it’s something I’m still not interested in.

I still don’t click the banner ad.

I go back to what I was doing, mildly irritated at having wasted five seconds of my day.

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