Interruption Marketing Hall of Shame

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Worst Practices  |  Public Relations  |  Marketing  |  Advertising

Interruption marketing sucks. But what's worse is when a company that you do business with deems it important to interrupt you with unwelcome marketing messages that you cannot stop and that annoy you so much that you seek to do business elsewhere.

Many of the companies I deal with online send email marketing messages. You know the sort: "Special sale on XYZ – get free shipping today only." This is OK with me because I can either opt out of the list or take less than a second to delete the individual email. And many companies put me on print mail lists—again I'm OK with that because I just toss the mail into the recycling bin.

However, recently I have noticed more and more organizations using video (which is OK by itself because it can be ignored) with loud associated audio messages that are inescapable (which is DEFINITELY NOT OK because it cannot be ignored).

Why do these companies deem it important to annoy their existing customers, who are the best prospects they have for repeat business? Why do these companies insult our intelligence? Do they think that loud, unwelcome marketing messages are good for their brand? Or is there some rouge marketing genius doing something that the CEO and the head of customer support doesn’t know about? Or is it just me who is annoyed and other people like this stuff?

Here then, is my Interruption Marketing Hall of Shame. Feel free to add your own nominees via comments or trackbacks to this post.


1. Massport, the operator of Logan Airport, for installing CNN Airport Network in every single gate. I'm a frequent traveler out of Boston's Logan Airport. Maybe 20 times a year I'm waiting for an hour or two (or three) for a plane to depart. Like other large airports, Logan has installed CNN Airport Network. By itself, that's OK. But there is literally nowhere to escape the noise because it is in each and every gate and waiting area once you pass through security. Why annoy all passengers to please the few that want to watch? Why not have the damn TVs somewhere that passengers are making a choice to listen? Why subject millions of passengers a year to unwanted audio marketing messages? You can choose not to look, but you cannot choose not to listen.


2. CNN Airport Network for creating interruption at 42 of the biggest airports in the United States. CNN has created this crap so they make the Hall of Shame. I actually like CNN, but only when I choose to watch it (usually while I am on my exercise machine at home). I don't want to watch (listen) all the time. CNN should have a clause in the contracts that they write with airports for the CNN Airport Network that says that quiet areas must be made available in every terminal that installs their network. Listen up CNN: You are hurting your brand with this nonsense.


3. US Airways for interrupting passengers in the middle of its flights with loud video advertisements. OK, I totally get the safety videos. But why must an airline interrupt all of the passengers (many who are asleep) during the actual flight with an annoying advertisements? I really don't want to be awakened after a half hour of flying with an unwanted message that US Airways serves the Caribbean. Do you think people want to hear this? And yes, I have started to choose airlines based on the ones who do not annoy me in this way.


4. Simon Property Group for installing video screens throughout the local mall, including the food court. I often pop over to the Burlington, MA mall for lunch in the food court. But last week the mall operator, Simon Property Group, installed video screens in the food court that blare the same advertisements to people who are trying to enjoy a quiet meal alone of chat with friends. Again, video alone is OK, it is the audio, that you cannot escape, that sucks. I am boycotting this mall. Too bad, because it is the holiday shopping season and the stores I frequent will miss out.

If anyone from these organizations is reading, please comment here and let us know why you do this nonsense. It is not helpful, and certainly hurts you in the long run.