Been on Boston.com lately? You’ve probably run into a mischief making seal named Zoe and a sea lion named Sierra, from the New England Aquarium. So far they’ve bumped my screen, shut down my browser, and made a general (although adorable) nuisance of themselves as part of the Aquarium’s “Mischief is Back in Boston” summer campaign (via Connelly Partners – Boston, MA).
Smart campaign and cute use of Boston.com’s rich media resources, but these whiskered tricksters got me mulling a bigger topic…how much online interruption is too much?
Online display advertising (like its print, outdoor, and broadcast cousins) works by interrupting your day to deliver you a message. The value of that message and how the interruption happens determine the success of the campaign. Here are some key thoughts when you’re considering interruption advertising:
Everyone’s heard the cliche “Americans see over 5,000 advertising messages a day“. That’s part of the challenge, but more importantly, the pace of our lives has quickened. Production, interaction, and distraction dominate our day. The space to interrupt us is smaller than ever, so do it quickly. Any delay and zap – your target is gone.
Show Immediate Value
Once you’ve mastered the quick interruption, tell us why you’re there – and make it good.
Side note: This is where properly segmenting your audience is important. What makes you valuable to one audience, doesn’t necessarily click for another. So use the many targeting technologies available to get the right value message up front.
This one is simple. Fun is never boring, offensive, or off-putting. Fun is interesting. Fun is good. So even with a serious product and service, find what is interesting and fun about it. Your audience will be more receptive to your message.
Back to our friends, Zoe and Sierra. Instead of shutting down my browser with mischief and then disappearing into a banner ad, why not bounce my screen with a ball, and invite me to play a game along the outside borders of my browser? Seal volleyball anyone?
Then invite me to meet Zoe and Sierra. Maybe even create a cartoon featuring these two characters. Kids drive attendance to the Aquarium, so get kids excited with games, stories, and cool facts/information about this adorable seal and sea lion. Then present your offer – Meet Zoe and Sierra in person at an NEAQ show this summer only! Maybe add a monetary value like get a free meet and greet with Zoe and Sierra when purchasing a season’s pass.
If I’m a parent or a child, that kind of interruption would get my attention.