A decade ago, in his book, “Total Access”, McKenna wrote that advertisers in the 21st century had to engage consumers, not just throw material at them. The latter is called the “Push” model of advertising. It requires little thought and, frankly, is more likely to irritate consumers than to sell anything.
However, the Push model is very much alive. With online shopping, you see it when you look for an item, don’t buy it, and then have that item presented to you repeatedly in other contexts.
Advertisers think: you looked for it, maybe if we pitch it the right way, you’ll buy it.
You think: I decided I didn’t like it. Leave me alone!
Push ads gum up networks, slow the display of web pages and in research have low recall rates. Basically, they don’t work very well. The risk to the brand is that people will consider it a nuisance. Of course, web ad agencies don’t tell their clients that.
Apple is trying to change the game for mobile advertising, by providing an ad blocker for its iPhone. The software is expected this month, as is a new model of the iPhone. The software permits users to block mobile ads, potentially speeding up their web surfing experiences, games, etc.
What Apple is doing is a clash of business models. Apple makes money on its phones. Google gives the phone revenue to Android manufacturers and makes money on ads. If Apple is successful, Google may take a big financial hit. Poor baby.
What Apple also is doing is forcing smart advertisers to pay attention to the concept of engagement. If you are engaged with a brand, you will want to received information from the brand and you’ll welcome it. If you are not engaged, you’ll block.
That’s something every blogger knows. Why does it seem so hard for pharma and car companies to figure that out?
Bottom line: McKenna is right and Apple is smacking people upside the head and telling them to pay attention. Absolutely brilliant.
For me, I have an Alcatel android phone which provides slow and clutzy web access. The ad blocker will move me happily into Apple.
I’m looking forward to the Apple event on September 9th.