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Stephen Eastwood
December 2016.
91
Are deliberately annoying adverts ever effective?
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Well, the answer’s yes, unfortunately! Deliberately annoying ads do stick in our minds. The UK is known particularly for having a quite creative advertising environment. The US typically has a much more hard sell approach to advertising, so more of their ads might be deemed annoying.

"If an ad is annoying and just isn’t effective, then the agency will end up losing that business."

But the simple fact is they get stuck in our heads and so they are effective I’m afraid. Although they do not do much for building brands, the reason why they are annoying is they demand our attention. Also, the sheer fact that they are on television lends a degree of credibility. Annoying ads online are of course another matter where we have greater control over the medium.

On television, I’m certainly not aware of any ads being pulled mid-campaign for being seen as too annoying. I don’t think it would ever get to that stage actually. There’s too much investment in adverts, in terms of things being signed off on a campaign, so it might just be that the agency would not get re-used. What tends to happen is that a client will work with an advertising agency, both parties will sign off the work, and the ad will run. If the ad is annoying and just isn’t effective – or it’s just plain dull, and that’s kind of more likely – then the agency will end up losing that business.

Andrew McStay is the author of Digital Advertising, now in its second edition.