They dragged me into a dark room with the bait of something new and fun. It looked innocent, and yet, as I sat down, I felt the touch of cool leather tightening around my wrists. A panic set in as I felt a pair of calloused hands against my face. They pried my mouth open and poured a grimy sludge down my throat. I wanted to scream but couldn’t.
As I waited for it to be over, trying to dodge the taste by curling my tongue, I saw hundreds of people around me going through the same ordeal.
A few weeks ago, my friends and I went to watch a film at a local cinema, X Men: Apocalypse. As we settled into our seats with a glutton’s worth of popcorn and sodas, the ads began playing.
One after another, we endured poorly conceptualized videos on screen and, like kids, we pointed, mocked and laughed. Instead of recommending the products, the creative made us feel repulsed.
So many competing thoughts battled it out in my mind as we impatiently waited for the movie to start.
For advertisers, cinema halls are a playground: They have higher emotional engagement rates than other video channels with a more attentive audience. This advantage can rear its ugly head and prove disastrous though.
Taking the audience for granted can almost ensure that instead of a positive association, they’ll make it a negative one.
Just for the sake of being present, for ‘brand visibility’, let’s shove easy-to-make, half-baked ads down the throats of a chained and gagging audience.
As a member of the audience and someone with a brief background in advertising, I was disgusted. No wonder Netflix does so well [lets you skip 130 hours of ads per year].
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I’d mind watching ad after ad, if it were created with the same love some old school ones were; something that added value to my life – creative, emotional, entertaining or other.
Lure me in, give me an irresistible story, whisper sweet nothings to me, make me laugh at your dry humor, mock me, take me somewhere new, show me something I haven’t seen, make me a better person and the horror story turns into a date with chocolates and feathers.
To advertisers: the question of control & creativity
You’ll likely spend around 42.5 hours per year watching ONLY YouTube ads.
There’s something to be said about exercising control over what you watch.
Youtube’s new ads that you can’t skip takes control right out of your hands, like traditional television, except instead of walking to the kitchen and getting somehing to eat, you impatiently mute and wait for it to be over [or open a new tab].
While some argue that Youtube’s ‘skip ad’ format forces advetisers to get more creative to capture attention in 3 seconds, the growth of unskippable ads is annoying.
It’s a circle with no end in sight: We’ll keep skipping your ads, you’ll continue bombarding us with cheap, ill-thought out and unskippable ones, and we’ll find new ways to dodge them.
Give us back the control and we’ll reward your creativity. Don’t pour money into a wasteful ad campaign that makes no difference to us. Put that money toward research to find out what we care about. Put it towards creative.
Because no matter how many times you show it to us, we’ll pretend you don’t exist if you make your ads I-dropped-a-few-IQ-points-by-watching-that dumb.
For society to move forward, we can’t have dictatorship on YouTube, we need a democracy. We’ll fight for it too.
Call it the beginning of a revolution: Every time you post an ad that is devoid of value, we promise to hit the mute button. We promise to mock it and laugh at it unapologetically. Maybe we won’t even arm your brand with more money to terrorize our minds.
Then again, there’s no money without advertising and no content without money.. and we have another fake ‘creative organic brainstorming’ session to get to. So, laters.
What is your opinion of Youtube’s move to disable the ‘Skip Ad’ button? Tell us in the comments below.
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