Don’t Go Changing

Annoying Advertising and Updates

Spotify annoyed a whole load of users this week by forcing them to re-download the app, purely to satisfy their own vanity and update the logo.

I personally think the citrus shade of green is an improvement, but social media revolted with revulsion at the change, although on occasions with quite a bit of hyperbole, including this idiot:

"SPOTIFY PLEASE CHANGE THE COLOR OF YOUR LOGO BACK TO THE NORMAL GREEN SINCERELY EVERYONE” carly !! @lueeeeek

It serves as a reminder that people do not like change, nor do they like having things forced upon them. It has echoes of the iTunes/U2 furore. Maybe they could have updated it with the next genuinely needed update, so as to keep antagonism to a minimum.

For the last 6 weeks or so Gasp has been listening to Jazz FM. We were utterly content with the change, but in recent days they have taken to markedly increasing the volume for the ad breaks. It is so annoying, that we have now ceased listening to it. You have to wonder what goes through some people’s heads in positions of power and influence.

It’s like when Cardiff City’s new owners put two fingers up to a hundred years of tradition and their supporters’ views, and changed the club colours from blue to red (since changed back).

This Sunday, with the prospect of a lovely roast on the horizon, I was in good spirits, until I encountered the below advert for the new TV show Humans, whilst reading an article from the Guardian website on my iPhone.

It would not let you scroll when you touched it, and it took up most of the screen. When I managed to get away from it by touching a bit of the website outside the ad, I went back to test it again. Same thing. There was another ad on the same article that would let you touch and scroll through. This really annoyed me! I was in two minds to watch the show (I understand it is good), but I vowed not to watch it after this. Maybe I’m a hypocrite, and this is my Spotify outrage equivalent, but crucially this ad negatively impacts the responsiveness of the Guardian’s website and frustrates the user. They were clearly trying new things and pushing boundaries with the marketing campaign for Humans, which is great, including 1 second TV ads that were just a still of the beautiful lead actress Gemma Chan, but I hope this kind of ad does not become more prevalent.

Snapchat is THE social app amongst young users, and a big part of this is their commitment to always erasing the digital footprint of its users. You can see why young kids like this. It’s the digital equivalent of hanging out in a field on a summer’s day, just chatting, and all that’s left behind once you are called home is an empty crisp packet. They genuinely respect privacy and refuse to implement consumer tracking, as they know it could cause brand damage, and their users will outcry en masse, as Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel has recently stated.

So what’s a marketer to do? Can you not really implement anything that is heavily targeted, invasive or disruptive? I personally like the idea of native advertising. I’ve blogged on it before https://www.gasp4.com/blog/page-has-some-issues so don’t want to go over old ground, but crucially it is something that none of the above are: always appearing in a form and a place that the user wants, as part of their natural online browsing habits.

You will get a few self-righteous types saying: ‘But I’ve been duped sir!’ but just let them seek out the contact details for the ASA, and you can get on with being cleverly subtle and creating things of genuine curiosity.

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