I'm watching a movie on TV and at the point that the story gets really critical an animation pops up at the bottom of the screen with dancing characters trying to get me to watch a show that starts in a couple weeks. I focus on the program and keep in the mood of the show but... yeah, another tick on the annoyance chart.
I'm listening to a beautiful piece of Baroque choir music on Pandora and an ad comes on for skate boards with rocking music. I'm reading a challenging article about quantum physics and I have to scroll past an inline text ad for "Make extra $$$ from home!" I'm enjoying a meal and I have to peer around a table tent for Friday Karaoke to talk to my dinner companion.
It's not just the fact that I'm bombarded by advertising all the time, it's that the ads are designed to set a mood, to gain your attention, to distract you from what you're trying to do right now. It's like someone brought a toddler to a cocktail party... a constant, inappropriate distraction that, even if it's not your toddler, you're forced to deal with.
I'm never in the mood to have my mood dictated by an ad agency. But they can catch a ride on my mood -- I find that the ads they put on the online version of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart actually fit the mood of the program -- not hard in our 15-30 second world of humorous ads, but the Axe Body Wash ad with the fast-paced shots of a guy's partying adventures after he showers feel more like part of the show and less like an obtrusive, inappropriate violation of my privacy.
Not that Madison Avenue is exactly known for subtlety, appropriateness or propriety. But I would like to suggest that being subtle and appropriate is what's going to work in advertising in the future, and shouting inappropriate things at inappropriate times is going to just be annoying... and ineffective.
My theory is this -- if your ad is jarring, it's easier for me to recognize it as an ad and I'm going to filter it. But, my filters aren't perfect, so I'm going to be annoyed as I filter it. Give me something that fits in with what I'm doing right now and I'm less likely to filter it out.
Until my filters improve and get annoyed at subtle advertising, that is. Then I'll have a different rant...