Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ads, Ad, Everywhere

Fellow marketers, please try to remember: consumer really aren't excited by the chance to see ads everywhere they turn. They view them as interruptions. They resent them.

Shel Holtz just wrote about an unwanted ad experience in his Road Weary blog (a blog which is always great reading for those of us who have taken too many business trips). 

After checking into a Marriott hotel in Toronto, he did what most of us do: fired up his laptop. Here's what happened:

I noticed earlier that spam-like banner ads were showing up in my browser. I would navigate to a page that I knew had no ads, and one would appear anyway, mostly touting online poker. Curious, I clicked on over to my own blog, and the same ad showed up there...

I assumed I had picked up some adware. Since the laptop is new, I haven’t had a chance to install spyware/adware software, so I paid for AdAware Pro and ran it. The ads kept showing up. A little investigation determined that all these ads link to a company called Superclick. I visited their site and learned more than I wanted to, enough to get my blood boiling. Superclick provides a guest interface for hotels that includes in-room services, which is fine. But it’s also dishing up these ads. So anybody staying at a property using Superclick who visits my blog will see an ad associated with it. I would never take advertising from an online poker site, and if I did, I’d expect to get some of the revenues.

Instead, I’m paying $12.95 per day to see these ads.

That’s right; that’s what the internet connection costs.

Do you find that appalling? I do. Most of us have gotten used to the idea of ads to subsidize free services. In this case, however, the ads are an extra that comes with an overpriced service.

Not to mention that additional issue of ads appearing on-screen with sites that have nothing to do with them... something that any site publisher (like any of us with blogs) should be irate about.

Needless to say, this doesn't endear Marriott to Holtz:

However, I am now disgusted with the hotel, and with Marriott in general.

(I can't resist adding that I cannot stand Marriott hotels and avoid them at all costs; the Marriott-branded ones tend to be incredibly mediocre for the price, and a few stays at their Courtyard properties convinced me that they have a corporate policy of building all of them with walls made of tissue paper. After a sleepless night a few years ago listening to the people in the room next door having what sounded like intimate moments followed by furniture-throwing contests over and over, I swore off the entire chain.)

Marriott strives to be a high-quality hotel (though they fail, I think); I doubt they'd put ads over the toilet in the bathroom or on the towels or on the ceiling over the bed. Why did they think it was a good idea on your laptop? I hope plenty of regular Marriott customers complain (and ask for refunds for their Internet service) until they stop.

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