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Brand marketing isn’t always easy, know what consumers hate

(MARKETING) It is hard to know what consumers like when organizing advertising campaigns, but knowing what they dislike can be equally as important.

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Knowing both sides

The world of marketing is rapidly changing, and most brands keep track of their advertising successes by looking at which ads generate engagement and conversions.

While it’s obvious that brands should pay attention to which of their ads are working, it’s also important to know what consumers dislike about ads.

Adverse advertising

CMO Council and Down Jones have done some research on what consumers hate about brand advertising, surveying over 2,000 consumers in the United Kingdom and the United States.
When asked “What things bother you the most about the way brands are marketed?” about a quarter of respondents said that they disliked “false, misleading, and phony advertising.”

Similarly, consumers also said that they disliked “false promises” and were not fans of “stupid television/video commercials.”

All of these pet peeves outranked bad product design, indicating that a bad ad can be even more damaging to your brand than a bad product.

Respondents were also asked what kinds of digital ads were most bothersome.

Intrusive pop-up ads were the winner at 22 percent, with another 17 percent of respondents saying they hated auto-playing video ads. Having received many a nasty look from my local librarian, I can attest to how problematic these non-consensual video experiences can be.

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Move, get out the way

Folks were also not so into text-only ads that ask you to click through to something else, ads that track your browsing activity, and ads that you have to look at before being redirected to the page you wanted. When the surveyors asked consumers what they considered “a negative advertising experience,” the most common response was one that was “obnoxious or intrusive.”

It seems that consumers particularly loath ads that get in the way of something else they were trying to do.

It’s also worth noting that consumers had no great love for ads that were “discriminatory or hateful” or that were “racist” or “stereotype[d] people.” In fact, consumers hated these ads even more than ads that contained computer viruses.

Bad ads are bad for business

The survey also showed that two-thirds of consumers would “think differently about the brand or choose to NOT do business with that brand” after having a negative ad experience, and another 22.2 percent would at least consider giving up the brand.


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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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