Thursday, April 24, 2014

How to Make Sure I Will Not Buy a Product

(Reclaimed from Bubblews.)

Last week and today, I'm seeing pop-up ads at Bubblews. Ads are actually covering up what I'm trying to read! How annoying.

Sponsors, I'm sure that some people have told you something like, "People say they make conscious, rational choices about what they buy, but they'll really buy anything that's become familiar because they've been nagged to buy it by a barrage of advertisements. If you can just pound the name of your product into their subconscious minds, people will be forced to buy whatever it is."

Maybe that's true for some people. It's not true for me. There are commercial jingles that I heard as a child, considered cute, and memorized, but I've never bought the products. There was a whole Saturday morning cartoon series created to market a new cereal that was shaped like cartoon characters; I liked the show and the characters, but I never ate the cereal. (A post on my Blogspot went into more detail about this.)

On the other hand, there are products that may have been advertised at some time, in some place, but I've never seen or heard an ad for them. Like Carhartt coveralls. (They used to be made in Duffield, Virginia.) Suddenly signs popped up in store windows: "We have Carhartt." I wasn't in the market for work clothes at those stores, so it was another five or ten years before I saw a laborer pull on a coverall that looked nice and practical. "That's a Carhartt!" I asked him whether it was as practical as it looked. At least that good, maybe more, he said. So now, if I were going to spend a lot of time doing heavy dirty work outdoors, I would look for a Carhartt. It's one garment that I would consider buying "new," because it's hard to find in thrift stores. People who wear Carhartt wear them out. And that is the way to market a completely new kind of product to me...show me that it really works for all the people who wanted to try it before I did.

Word of mouth generally does influence me to buy things. Ads, I'm sorry to tell you, generally do not. People my age studied the arts and science of advertising in middle school, and don't place much faith in anything an advertisement says. "This or that celebrity uses it." That's nice--now pay me as much as you're paying the celebrity to use it, and I'll try using it too. "The TV commercial for it was funny." That's nice--a moment of entertainment out there in TV Land, which, as everyone knows, is not connected to the real world. "You've heard the name thousands, perhaps millions of times!" That's not even nice...it tells me that (a) the manufacturer has made a lot of money already and doesn't need my support, and (b) the product is not something that can be marketed by word of mouth, but is something people have to be nagged to buy. And both of those things are reasons why I would not buy a product.

And I have boycotted products, even products I liked, because the ads were annoying. Most of the brand names I've noticed in online pop-up ads were for things I wouldn't buy in any case, but sponsors, please, whatever the bright boys may have told you...if I think of your product as an electronic equivalent of a housefly that has to be swatted, and then a nasty mess has to be cleaned up (cookies on the computer, fly bodies on a window), that does not make me more likely to buy your product.

Bubblews is here to display ads, and I'm all in favor of nice, quiet little ads that sit in their place on the screen. I may even write something product-supportive about those ads from time to time. But I'm not supportive of ads that annoy me.

So, no more pop-up ads, please!