I decided to plan a trip to Yosemite last night (excited!). After picking out new gear from REI I happened to pull up VEVO to scan the music video community. Ironically almost every pre-roll spot I had was Carnival Cruises’s “Land vs Sea” series which shows a middle aged couple fussing around trying to camp and then a vacation later, relaxing on a cruise ship. If you saw the purchases I made that night you’d get why I said it was ironic — my goal is to be exactly the opposite of what the ads were showing: I go outdoors to practically get lost, a pool day and easy dinner is great at times, but not an alternative to what I had booked.
This brings us to how advertising currently works.
First off I had switched devices using a service with no login so there was almost no way Carnival could have known I was looking at camping gear to either target towards me or away from me.
Second in their buy the frequency cap was obviously high enough that I kept seeing their spots. Since the creative changed frequently I’ll assume this was intended but it upped the effect.
Third advertising has become so network driven that companies often have no idea where their spot even is. I’m not entirely sure Carnival ever intended to target hard rock and pop video audiences with this ad or at all.
The big point here is that my preferences had no opportunity to make it to Carnival. Carnival does a good job engaging in social platforms but advertising (not just theirs) remains almost entirely one way and let’s face it, VEVO does not (and should not) put my camping affinity as the #1 insight to understand.
Privacy has always been cited as the block for getting smart with ads but that’s because we want everything to be done behind the scenes in a stealthy, “we tracked you and you didn’t know it” way.
One ad in to my viewing I would have gladly told Carnival to reach someone else just as I do all the time on Facebook ads with the little [x]. It’s not that they were dead wrong in reaching me, that’s going to happen, it’s that it kept happening. The same is true with TV. How many ads do you see that are totally irrelevant ans yet repetitive (and I’m not talking getting that blanket awareness effect for Coke Zero, I’m talking vocational schools when you have a PhD)? Lots and your chance to tell them? Zero. What’s the mighty “ROI” for those advertisers? Probably also near zero.
I’ve been to Brazil and the Bahamas in the last 12 months, much as we want our message to be a hit on the first impression and to figure out exactly who to reach to get the best response that’s not always possible — sometimes we don’t know who we’re reaching and sometimes who we’re reaching is not who wants our service right now.
But once we do show up the feedback loop works to tell us what to do next yet it’s not being used. We’ve got 3 variations of TVs on the market, a new type of media player every day but where’s the remote with the “no thanks” button? It’s time to build a dialogue into advertising, not to share the ad, not buy from the ad, but to make sure it’s the right ad.