Online advertisers must understand context

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

20 November 2014

Online advertisers have stepped on a landmine

Remember when advertisers influenced TV content?

Probably not. We have been in a free for all for years when TV advertising began being bought by mindless media agencies who match up demographics with target audience needs. Years ago, when a laundry soap sponsored a daytime serial drama (that’s where we got the term soap opera), it had some editorial influence on the show. It considered context as part of its brand strategy.

I think we need to revisit that old idea of news context, considering digital media and our online searches. Here is an example of how context should matter and did not.

Last week, the news of Peter Kassig’s beheading really upset me. So I pointed my browser to ABC News to find out more. When I clicked on the video news story, I had to sit through a commercial for orange juice.

This is what came up when I clicked on the Peter Kessig story.

This is what came up when I clicked on the Peter Kassig story on the ABC News website.

Think about this in context. It trivialized what I was watching and I resented the brand. Now that’s brand equity.

When, out of disgust, I decided to see if Fox News did the same thing and, voila!, to hear about the tragic murder of another American, I had to sit through a commercial for Luminosity.

Attention all online advertisers: Stop this stupidity and recognize that your brand’s message needs to reflect the context and content of your sponsorship. Demand brand understanding in your media buys and insist that there be a way to control content and context with your brand values.

I went home and threw out all of my orange juice and am happy to let my brain take a vacation from Luminosity’s promise that, only through exercise, will my brain work at its peak. I promise you, my brain is working better than the stupid media buyers who think that context is unimportant.

See more posts in the following related categories: ABC News FOX news Online advertising Peter Kassig

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