What’s the best way for advertisers to reach consumers on the web? For
advertisers grappling with ad blindness, there are two possible
options. The first: develop more efficient ways to interact with
consumers online. The second: make it harder for consumers not to tune
out your ads.

Not surprisingly, while advertisers experiment with the first option, they’re also pinning their hopes on the second.

A good example: Gillette’s Venus Bikini Kit ad campaign that will be running on Hearst Magazines property Cosmopolitan.com. The campaign will employ disruptive ad units introduced last year by the Online Publishers Association. According to MediaWeek, these ad units include 336×700 fixed panels units as well as 970×66 pushdown units.

The centerpiece of the campaign, as detailed by MediaWeek, are videos that “feature a lifestyle expert who gives sunbathers tips on finding the best swimsuit for their body type. The product will be mentioned in grooming tips interspersed in the videos.

Not surprisingly, it’s difficult to find many who are fans of these larger, more disruptive ad units. Except, of course, the advertisers buying them and publishers selling them. After all, advertisers looking to get a marketing message through will, in many cases, use the most powerful tools publishers are willing to give them. And publishers, lured by the premiums advertisers will pay for the most forceful delivery, often find it difficult not to oblige them.

Hearst Magazines Digital Media’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Kristine Welker, told MediaWeek, “There is a significant premium” for the type of ads Gillette is running, but also stated, “We don’t want people to view [the ads] as invasive and intrusive.

Unfortunately, publishers can’t have it both ways. These ads are inherently invasive and intrusive, and while they may be lucrative, if they simply annoy and anger audiences, which seems likely, the long term costs for publishers may very well outweigh any immediate benefits. Knowing this, the smartest publishers will increasingly remind advertisers that in the battle for consumer attention, the most effective weapon isn’t necessarily the biggest or the one that makes the biggest bang.

Photo credit: scottandnala via Flickr.