Last updated on July 11th, 2022 at 02:03 pm
Recently, while visiting ABCNews.com, I was trying to read an article about the second dip in home prices (yippee), I was harassed by a video I didn’t click to play. It just started all on its own. But OK, I watched George Stephanopoulos talk about falling home prices, and then I went on to read the article I had originally meant to read.
But wait! Having had the brains to start itself, did the video then demonstrate the intelligence to stop itself?
No. It went on to play an annoying ad. So I clicked the stop button. Silly me, I expected it to stop at my command. Instead, it took me to another page–the home page of the company blaring the annoying ad.
Hmmm, I said to myself. Maybe my finger slipped and I accidentally hit a link. Close the page and go back to my article. Whereupon the same ad started over from the beginning. Call me Pollyanna, but I clicked the stop button again and made real sure I didn’t slip and hit a link; and yes, I actually expected it to stop. Once again I was transferred to the home page for that company.
Did you get that? They rigged the “stop” button to link to their home page. This modern age, I tell you.
It seems you cannot stop an advertisement once it has started, at least not at abc.com. You can only:
- ignore it, if you have superhuman powers of concentration; or
- leave the page and the information you wanted to begin with; or
- tell it to stop, at which point you are given more of what you wanted to stop.
I realize I could have muted my sound, but I was afraid it would ask me for my credit card and ship me whatever it was they were selling.
Am I the only one that is bugged about this? Is this not one giant leap down from spam, because it shows up even when you say NO, and it comes complete with loud noise embedded? And does this kind of advertising actually work on anyone? Can a company that does this stuff point to one single sale made to an entrapped and unintentional “consumer?”
I remember in the olden days when people complained about ads on TV or the content of programming, the common advice was, “just turn it off.” We were the masters of what came into our consciousness! But apparently, that strategy no longer works.
And, hello, does this company confuse “stop playing this ad” with “I’m interested! Give me more sales pitch!”
How much are they paying their marketing department for such a brilliant strategy?
Note to companies who do this: I AM NOT A CONSUMER.
I am sick of being treated like one. Not only do I not fall for every shiny, loud, and fast-moving distraction you can throw at me, but I swear on all that is holy never to do business with any company who treats me like that.
When I say I’m not a consumer, here is what I mean:
- I no longer spend money just because it’s in my pocket.
- I no longer spend money I’m only pretending I might someday have, by handing over a credit card.
- I no longer need to own things just for the sake of owning them.
- I am sick of the clutter of buying, holding, and ultimately throwing away.
I feel like I have been at a very long, very extravagant Thanksgiving dinner for most of my life, and, having stopped my inhalation of everything in sight, I’m good and sick of it. I’m noticing that elsewhere in the world, the amount that I’ve consumed would feed an entire family for a month.
The way things were was far past simple bounty for which we gave thanks, and much closer to blind self-indulgence. So now, if a company is going to try to drag me back to the table to start in again on the “feast,” they can forget it.
Upon reviewing this story, I started to second-guess myself. What if I just clicked in the wrong place? What if my whole premise is wrong? What if I’m ranting about something that doesn’t exist the way I think it does?
But then I realized something. Even if my example turns out to be wrong, my premise is still right.
Because my premise is this: too many businesses are failing to recognize what we reformed consumers have been through. The last few years have made us unalterably different.
We don’t want to be manipulated anymore. We want to be approached with respect by a company that produces something we need and want, not something they’re trying to sell. It’s a crushingly huge difference that only seems like a syntactical technicality. So, where are the companies who choose to approach us not as the human version of PacMan, chomping through the landscape, but instead approach us with humanity, humility, and respect?
Jayne Speich is a small business coach/consultant who writes, thinks, and coaches extensively on customer service, business finance, and ways to thrive in the new economy.
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