the most annoying banner ad of all time

Here’s one of my online marketing rules. Audio that auto-plays on a website is bad. The main reason is simple. Studies show that the majority of web browsing is done at the workplace. Auto-play audio alerts fellow cube dwellers or the Bobs that they’re slacking. They surf off the site when you disturb the peace.

Personally, I just like my web silent. If I want to hear something, I’ll unmute my speakers and hit play. Thanks.

The most annoying of these auto-play audio ads are when a “person” tries to talk to me in an one-to-one manner.

Alltel is currently running a skyscraper with their publicly-hated spokesdude, Chad. Instead of clicking, the ad’s audio goes live when you mouse over.

So I’m on a website and I accidentally mouse over the Alltel ad and Chad starts talking. I see there’s a volume control on the ad and I click it. It mutes Chad. Chad stops talking and looks up at the volume control and looks back at me with a hurt look on his face. Then he starts talking again (muted) and keeps looking between me and the volume control shrugging his shoulders and looking hurt and confused. This goes on the entire time I’m on the page reading the material I came for.

And the whole hurt act annoyed me even more than the sound being on. So much so that I grabbed the attached screenshot to use in this post.

No Chad, I don’t want to hear your pitch. The whole ad represents the main problem that ALL marketers have trying to reach an audience. Not everyone wants to hear your company’s marketing spiel. No one really cares about your marketing except you and your agency (maybe).

I’m sure the Alltel ad wizards thought it would be a cute way to work the creative with a target who wants to disengage. But at what cost? Seems the public hates Chad. Why give them even more reasons to hate him?

Don’t look hurt, Chad. Just don’t place an annoying audio banner ad in front of me. And let’s keep it down in here.

BTW: If you google the phrase i hate alltel, you’ll find that this post that I wrote back in 2005 is the top result. In fact, that post is also consistently one of the most trafficked posts on the entire blog. When I look at my stats, I try to ignore its effects on keyword searches and overall traffic. So I’m interested in how this post will affect all that.

I hate Alltel

Normally, I try not to spew hatred in a general non-focused sense…but I truly hate the company Alltel on all levels.

In a business sense, I have to deal with their Yellow Page con men in the Alltel Publishing division. (Full disclosure::I’m not a huge fan of 99.9% of all Yellow Page publishers…but Alltel takes the cake for bad business practices.)

Today, I have general vitriol against them with my personal lines. I spent some time in Alltel’s “All of our customer service associates are busy” purgatory today. It turns out that Alltel charged some things on my bill that I’ve never subscribed to. They signed me up “for my convenience”. The “customer service” rep tells me that I did use these services that I’m not subscribed to. (how did that happen?) She won’t remove the charges and pretty much says I’m lying.

We also have a heated discussion about charging me for the privilege of having long distance service along with the toll charges I do make.

Here’s the best part…
At this point, I’m fairly irate on the phone…and she trys to upsell me additional services. Of course, this is not her idea…some marketing moron higher up is telling all these reps to ask “Would you like fries with that?”

This is akin to me finding a severed finger in my meal and the restaurant asking me if I would like to purchase dessert as well.

The traditional telephone business is dying everyday. It looks like Alltel would be looking for ways to IMPROVE the customer conversation…not make me mad.

But here’s the thing….This happens daily in thousands of other businesses. Some corporate schmuck is handing down “big ideas” to improve the bottom line. It sounds good in the boardroom. But when they execute the idea on the ground…it winds up ticking me off.

Link::http://www.alltelsucks.org

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