When marketing annoys you is it still working?

Perhaps it’s an extension of the maxim ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’, but is it true. Our position, subject to the context, is that ‘any publicity is good publicity’ is not true. Facebook agree with us – Meta, the platform for Facebook, Instagram and all things Mark Zuckerberg, has functionality to show the ‘frequency’ at which people are seeing a campaign and evidence shows that if someone sees a digital ad more than four times they start to ‘switch off’.

Let’s look at the case from two standpoints. Firstly the least favourable standpoint where marketing for a product or service you do not highly regard gets on your nerves. Secondly when marketing for a product or service you do admire gets on your nerves.

I shall use examples I have experienced as objectively as I can in the hope of proving our point.

So from the standpoint of a product or service I do not admire. I watch a lot of sport and particularly cricket. When I watch that on a commercial channel the ads shown seem to be almost solely Cazoo. More to boot many of the grounds from where the games are broadcast also have Cazoo branding. In all honesty it is the rather smug feel of the TV commercials that get to me. Also I am a little sceptical of the faultless claims that are made in the same. No matter, where initially the TV commercial might have been interesting and different at the beginning, it has become annoying and I tend to ‘switch off’.

The knock on effect is that I get the same feeling, admittedly to a lower intensity and intrusion, when I see their branding in the stadium. I can only conclude this is publicity that is not doing Cazoo any favours in my eyes.

As proof I have recently taken on a PCP contract for a car and I didn’t once look at Cazoo – evidence I would say that their marketing has lost them an opportunity with me.

How about from the standpoint of a product or service I do admire. Revealing my rather sober habits a little more, I often listen to Classic FM and prior to loading it displays a commercial. Until recently that has been a rather charming ad for Specsavers hearing ads showing a fellow of later years dancing in his living room. So you can see I did initially find this enjoyable. However after the fourth time of seeing it, it became a barrier to my getting on with listening to Classic FM whilst I got on with my work. Interestingly it didn’t make me feel negative about the Specsavers brand.

So maybe its about content – did I just warm more to the Specsavers content than I did to the Cazoo content? Or perhaps saturation – Cazoo were present when I watched cricket on TV, in the intervals on TV and even when I go to see cricket live.

It looks to me like our assertion is only partly right. In order for all publicity to be good publicity is subject to the core perception that the subject has of the advertiser needs to be positive. If that core perception is negative or become negative because of the content of the advertising it would seem all publicity is not good publicity.

Is there a lesson – I think there is. Namely that in our marketing and perhaps even before that in our positioning, if we can be likeable, endearing or attractive we are likely to overcome the potentially annoying impact of repetition or saturation.

Want to add to the debate? Email robharrison@gluedlimited.co.uk or phone 07787 557 197.

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