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Monday, Feb. 2, 2009 at 7:51 am

Step Right Up and Try the Latest Disruptive Advertising!

By Brendan Regan
February 2nd, 2009

In my tenure here on GrokDotCom, I’ve done a pretty good job avoiding the snarkiness and sarcasm that permeate my whole being.  I open with that so you’ll indulge me on this one :)

Recently, I went to to look up a semi-obscure band.  Why did I go there instead of my usual search engine query?  Because every band is on MySpace.  If you are a band, and live in the Milky Way solar system, you are on MySpace, and everyone knows it.  It’s the kind of reputation you could leverage into ad revenue…you know, relevant banner ads, text ads, promotions, etc.

Midway through my brief listening session, the infamous MySpace music player stopped performing its function and overlayed an ad.  To continue listening, I had to dismiss a very intrusive banner.

I won’t waste anyone’s time with why interrupting my favorite song with a banner ad that has to be actively dismissed is a bad idea.  Instead, let’s follow the experience of that one visitor in a million who wants to stop listening to cool music, go off to another site, and take a completely different action.

So let’s look at the persuasion scenario the advertiser, Dominoes Pizza, has paid to funnel us into.

The Creative: It’s professional-looking, but it could at least try to have something to do with music.  The call to action button doesn’t really stand out or contrast, and it’s asking for a lot (go from listening to music to ordering food online).

The Landing Page: Yikes, that doesn’t look very fun.  Where’s the scent of information for me to follow?  Am I in the right place?  They also get bonus points for giving me a promotional price on 3 medium pizzas instead of sandwiches!

The Rest of the Scenario: I clicked into the scenario a bit deeper out of morbid curiosity.  Once again, nothing makes me more persuaded to order sandwiches online than a big picture of a plain cheese pizza.  The whole experience seems geared towards ordering pizza, which makes sense if I am a direct entry visitor.  Couldn’t they pass a parameter so the page defaults to the Sandwiches tab?

Disruptive advertising is risky. I’ve already started a mental list of brands I now hate because they interrupted my music listening (Blockbuster and joined the list).  So, if you’re going to risk a bad “brand exposure,” and a backlash of negative word of mouth (or worse yet, bloggers ;) ), you’d better have your ducks in a row for those who actually click through into your conversion funnel.

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Comments (12)

  1. Could it be that Dominos may not even be aware that their ad is being ran in this manner?I wonder if they have just contracted this out to a third party and they are dictating when this gets shown.

    I’ve seen this start to happen on facebook, also, in some of the game applications and it seems like the ad placement is more in control of the game developer then the advertiser.

  2. I actually order a pizza from Dominos online a few months back and the experience was pretty great. Submit online take your time and your door bells rings 30 minutes later. I do how ever hate that type of advertising when you get slammed with an ad like that when you don’t expect it.

  3. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s a 3rd party deal. I think it’s more a problem with MySpace’s interface than the company or advertiser who’s running the ad. Maybe they can’t even control how the ad displays and if it stops the music.

    The fact that the funnel isn’t targeted to the ad is a bit funny, but I’ve used the Domino’s online ordering application before and I really liked it. It gives you a realtime look at the preparation of your pizza, and includes the name of the cook and the delivery driver.

    Sometimes the ad campaign isn’t really targeted to what the customer is doing, more to what customers they think will buy their product. Maybe they don’t even have the capability (or the resources and inclination) to target the ad and the experience down to the specific levels of music and sandwiches. I bet they would customize it if it was easily possible.

  4. “Maybe they don’t even have the capability (or the resources and inclination) to target the ad and the experience down to the specific levels of music and sandwiches. I bet they would customize it if it was easily possible.”

    I don’t know of any situation where you aren’t in control of your landing page. If you’re advertising Sandwiches, land the customer on Sandwiches… or at least a page that features the deal you advertised (you can still show the pizzas in that instance).

    But, drawing the consumer in with one message (Check out our new sandwiches), then swiftly changing to another (Order a Pizza now), only adds confusion to the mix. And… it fosters an immediate exit from your funnel.

  5. The creative should have been audio and should have conveyed:

    Hungry for music? Hungry for a sandwich? Dominoes now has oven-baked sandwiches. Order one right now and listen to some more tunes. Your sandwich will be there before you know it.

  6. Thanks for sharing this, I’m always looking for examples of this kind of thing to persuade clients NOT to go down the interruption, clutter, or irrelevant road.

    I wrote a post about this myself a couple of weeks ago, here:

  7. huh…I’d actually seen this campaign on their website and though it was an excellent example of how interactive marketing should be done.

    But…when it comes to using Banner Ads to un-targeted consumers, they’ve forgotten their purpose. Although don’t get me wrong…the numbers could be working for them. Honestly who doesn’t love Pizza? But as you mentioned they also risk the backlash of “Marketing Mavens” & “Bloggers” and bad brand exposure.

  8. UPDATE: Dominoes should put this on MySpace. Apparently, Subway’s lawyers sent some sort of desist letter to Dominoes telling them to stop their “oven baked sandwiches” ads. Instead, Dominoes CEO went on video to oven-bake the lawyers’ letter! Priceless…

  9. I am in full agreement that this creates awful brand perception.

    Hulu does a good job of politely informing the viewer that the free content is brought to them by ________.

    Additionally, Dominoes shouldn’t even bother showing ads in the NY area, who eats Dominoes with all the great pizza around here anyway?

  10. I can’t stand those popup ads. Adblockpro usually takes care of them though.

  11. Well I guess this gives you an idea of what not to do. I love your statement below “Your website sucks…. I know it and you know it! Get a To-Do list to fix it now… I am sure it is advertising but it works!!!

  12. It is hard to argue with this kind of marketing because it works so well and often now. Just look at GoDaddy. A pair of breasts made a lot of people in that company millionaires overnight….

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