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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 336x700 fixed panels units as well as 970x66 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.

Patricio Robles

Published 28 June, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (4)



Have we not moved past this yet? With the tools we have in social, collaborative, engaging media, to still find our industry encouraging an intentionally disruptive, invasive (and, by its nature, customer UNfriendly) approach baffles me.

Yes, lots of people will see the advert. But will that transfer into CTR and conversions?

Online advertising at times reminds me of an attention-seeking child, screaming louder and louder in an attempt to get your attention, no matter how irrelevant the message.

over 6 years ago


Joe Cibula

Don't you mean "make it harder for consumers to tune out [your ads]?"

over 6 years ago


Chris OBrien

Oh, marketing laziness. It takes ten times as much creative mindpower to develop a strategy that engages consumers in a unique and inspiring way so that they WANT to interact with your brand. Instead of wracking your brain on how to develop better creative, just buy a bigger ad.

over 6 years ago


Adam Sewell

Any kind of distruptive ad is surely counterproductive for the site running it?

Although I really like the content on econsultancy, I find the continually flashing changing ads really disruptive. I know that's the idea, but it puts me off coming here.

The ad running on this site now flashing multiple brands and asking how they perform in search is really off putting. The last thing I want to do is click on it, I just want to be able to hide it so I can read the article!

over 6 years ago

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