It was Saturday and hectic in front of the trendy cafe. With my mask fastened I eagerly received my double-shot-three -quarter-full-latte. I brought the cup up to my face. My eyes locked on to the lid. There was something there. A sticker. An ad. An interruption.

Marketing that interrupts is a bad idea

As you might have gathered, I prize my Saturday coffees. Wearing my active wear. My walks more strolls than brisk. I pop into a few local spots. Before carrying my loot home, where I continue my favourite past times (eating, watching TV or hanging out with the family).

So, when I’m interrupted while in my leisure mode. My ‘living my best life’ mode. Well, frankly. That is a bad idea. No one likes interruptions. Scrolling through our phones only to be stopped by some crazy ad that won’t pop down as swiftly as it popped up. Just don’t. It’s like waiting for the story you wanted to watch on Youtube, only to be counting down the moment you can hit ‘skip this ad’.

My reaction to the sticker surprised even me. I was careful not to take in its information. I gathered it was an ad for some financial product. But I made sure I didn’t take in the name of the company. My guard was up. I carefully peeled off the sticker and placed it on the bottom of my cup.

And I am a marketer!

All buzz is good buzz, right?


My reaction was physical. My brain sensed an intruder. My defences got out of bed. And my action was swift.

If I see that sticker again, I might take in the company name, just to make sure I’ll never buy from it. The unfortunate thing is, and I feel bad for this one, I might be less likely to buy coffee from the cafe too.

Even if both companies had the best intentions, even if they were supporting one another in tricky times. Because I don’t like interruptions. And so, what can businesses do, if other people feel the same way?

Earn it

Getting people to pay attention is a privilege. And this privilege needs to be earned. Think Richard Branson jumping out of a plane to promote his new airline. We show up and cheer him on. Not even caring that we are part of his gigantic ad stunt.

Or, getting ready to buy Canva stock, when they finally list on the stock market. Because we have enthusiastically poured over every news article, documenting their rise to the world’s 5th most valuable company. No doubt, their stunning young female CEO, along with their pledge to donate billions to charity, all helps us place this design tech company beyond a subscription product, and into a tribe of ‘brands who see the world like we do’.

What can we do about it

Don’t interrupt. It’s better that we do nothing, than upset our audience. And can somebody please give this memo to Craig Kelly, whose text messages pop up breakfast, lunch and dinner. Of course, the Clive Palmer Party are likely to pick up anti-vaxxer voters using this tactic. So in some twisted way interruptions can work. But only if we interrupt people who see the world like we do. Because to them, our text message isn’t an interruption. It’s a welcome message from a kindred spirit.

On a whole, this is a really ineffective way of spending our advertising budget. Because we are scattering our messages around, hoping some will stick. And unless you are a millionaire who doesn’t care about alienating a majority of your audience. Don’t waste your cash. You are better off doing a few things well. Rather than a lot of things wrong. Because you can get blocked. Or worse than ignored, you can be disliked. And nobody bought anything from someone they didn’t feel good about.

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