Image via WikipediaGulf News has fallen into the very annoying habit indeed of selling advertisers the right to post a removable sticker on the front page. It’s come a cropper with this in the past, one sticker which wasn’t very removable damaged the paper when readers attempted to see the news they are paying for, while another was a ‘feel good’ message splatted on news of a devastating human tragedy.
It’s interesting to see how much a brand will damage itself for short term gain. Readers, who let us not forget actually pay for Gulf News and so have some expectation of getting access to news, are forced to remove the sticker before they can read the front page of the newspaper – the most important page of news that GN has to offer.
It is arguably no great deal, this process of getting your fingernail under the corner of a little advert and removing it before you can read the story under the front page headline. But it’s actually just as annoying as Etisalat’s habit of selling its customers to SMS spammers – I don’t want it, I didn’t ask for it, it forces me to act to remove it before I can access a product/service I have paid to receive. This means that the sticker connotes the brand it is promoting with irritation as well as devaluing the brand of the product used to carry the message.
It does seem odd to me that advertising agencies still fail to understand that consumers don’t actually want invasive advertising in their lives. Agencies slap themselves on the back about how their campaign was ‘edgy’ and ‘disruptive’ and appear to completely miss the point that I, and many others like me, do not want my life disrupted by a brand screaming slogans in my face. I don't want to have to remove stickers or open spammy text messages from companies. I am increasingly sensitive to it, increasingly irritated by it and increasingly likely to act against it by sharing my irritation with an increasingly large audience of people who are voting with their feet and sharing their feelings about brands and media that act in this way.
While I’m being bad tempered about this stupid idea, a message for Carrefour’s advertising agency regarding the sticker I had to unpeel from today's GN: the washing liquid brand Pril is spelled with one ‘l’ as shown clearly in the image of the product on the sticker. You dolts have spelled it with two ‘l’s in the text outlining the marvellous special offer I can ‘avail’ with your ‘voucher’.