You’re Forced To . . . . Wait.

Above is the reaction of my Millennial neighbor to most online commercials. Yes, she’s hard to please, but that’s what we’ve trained so hard to do, right? Credits for this shot:
‘UGH’ is the reaction of my Millennial neighbor to most online commercials. Yes, she’s hard to please, but isn’t that what we’ve trained so hard to do? Credits for this shot:

You click to learn more about the IPO for Alibaba, the Chinese Internet phenomenon bigger than Amazon and ebay combined.

Its value is predicted to be $187 billion.

But you have to wait.

You click to get the latest on the Scots.

The people who gave us radar, television, telephones, golf, Penicillin, Billy Connolly and more … will they vote on September 18th to make Scotland a separate country?

Again, you have to wait.

You click to see a ‘best of’ Joan Rivers clip everyone at work is raving about.

Once again, you have to wait.

In each case you encounter online commercials.


That’s the reaction of my Millennial neighbor.

She has all the subtlety and tact of the Gestapo in wanting to know if it’s me who’s responsible for creating  online ads that irritate the bejesus out of her.

She says boring commercials on YouTube and Hulu Plus are a disruption. They lower the value of those sites.

She’s not wide of the mark on that.

So how can this be the case in the digital age?

Are we suddenly back in the bad old days of command-control advertising?

Few would wish online commercials were a millisecond longer, even when you can end them after five seconds.

If you’re going to interrupt people it might be an idea to do it in a way that gives them something for their time.

Charm, wit, a fresh point of view, facts that people don’t know… give them something.

At a recent conference you couldn’t fail to notice marketers these days have limitless enthusiasm. It’s palpable.

Limitless enthusiasm … but many have little experience in knowing how to use it to engage people, lengthen attention spans and create the moment someone buys.

They’re lacking the kind of strategic approach you might find in a horse whisperer.

After all, the right temperament and the right words can make all the difference.

How do you gain that?

For starters, here’s one thing ad agencies know that some marketers may not.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, there’s an upturn in the number of films produced these days. Have you noticed?

The reason is digital technology. It lets people create their own productions at a lower cost.

Those in the indie film world have never had it better.

Even amateurs — high school kids — turn out terrific films, videos and their own spec commercials. No doubt you’ve seen some on YouTube.

A new communication literacy is fueled by everyone with a smart phone. We’re all directors and producers now.

It’s one reason why we’re more critical than ever.

The appeal of commercials online has a lot of catching up to do.

You might want to work closer with your ad agency on this.

Give them the power and encouragement to create something as witty, amusing and surprising as an 11th grader might produce.

That way you’ll have a better chance with those who really count.

Your own Millennial neighbors.

Share with us. How are you and your agency improving your online approach? What are you doing to win over prospects? Scroll all the way down and leave your comment. Thanks, Steve Ulin

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