RE: Unwanted Audio Ads (why not just turn speakers off?)

From: Carmen Paulino <>
Date: Fri 20 Jul 2001 17:46:28 -0500


>Why should the Internet be locked in to standards of
>operation we don't even give a second thought to in
>the physical world? We have enough problems developing
>sites and applications with proper customer servicing
>and tons of wasted hours resolving third-party browser
>bugs, etc., without also having to design to each
>person's personal likes and dislikes.


>No one is asking for legislation to require that
>sound controls be left in the hands of the ad recipient.
>If you want to create ads that antagonize your audience
>and prospects that is up to you. What is being suggested
>is that advertisers and ad creative and development
>types exercise restraint (or "good judgement" if you
>prefer the term) when preparing ads or campaigns which
>have the power to disrupt, shock or surprise a user.

I don't remember even intimating that we need legislation.
In fact, my opinion was based on the contrary -- freedom
of expression. Sound controls are in the hands of the ad
recipient, which takes care of the other side of the issue,
freedom to control an experience. My and others' response
was to the original more narrow statement, which you might
have missed (quote)


>. . the real point of my post . . . [is] about who should
>control what I hear from my computer. I think **it should
>be me, not the marketing team for Spielberg's latest film.

(Emphasis added.) The issue was about control and more
specifically, control of audio -- which each of us already
has. No one will argue about the use of good judgment --
but good judgment cuts both ways. When one set of individuals
wants to control another's activities simply because, as
the original writer stated, **it's an inconvenience to
his work style,** is this proposition based on good judgment?


>if you want to create ads that antagonize your audience
>and prospects that is up to you.

Clearly your comment is no different from mine or what
others have suggested -- that it *is* up to the
advertiser (and whether the advertiser uses good judgment
or not is another issue, not the issue I addressed).
It is a much more reasonable proposition that users
either keep their audio muted or keep their volume low,
especially now that rich media technology is emerging
more rapidly, than it is to tell Spielberg that he
can't practice his profession on the Internet or that
he should incur unreasonable expense to satisfy each
individual's forgetfulness or choices. There is a clear
distinction between developing for whole groups as
opposed to developing for each individuals' preferences
on the Internet. At some point, the people who spend the
money have to draw a line because we're just not going
to satisfy everyone 100% of the time.

>If the hypothetical user we are discussing had been
>someone's lovable "grandpa" and had he experienced a
>heart attack and died from the shock of an audio ad,
>instead of merely being "fired" would this thread have
>followed the same course? I think not.

As the original writer mentioned, no one was fired, he
just used that notion as a possibility. And if grandpa
drove a car that Rock-loving junior had previously
driven and he dies from the shock of the audio volume,
would grandpa's family complain to the radio station?
Should creative people stop offering audio because
users might forget or don't want to adjust their

>One of the hallmarks of good advertising is that it
>embraces more possible prospects than fewer. In the
>case of the audio ad for I-A, the ad developer
could have provided two or three different sound tracks,
>each at different volume levels and labeled them "quiet
>voiceover"; "sfx & voiceover"; and "loud sfx & voiceover",
>and placed buttons in the ad itself.

There is an assumption here that advertisers leave
their coffers open and say, spend what you like. There
are parameters within which we all must work. How about
if we just put up an audio icon and a message to lower the
volume? At least this wouldn't require adding superfluous development cost.

>Remember, psychological research has demonstrated over
>time that the shock value you apply to get an ordinary
>reaction today will have to be increased to get the same
>reaction in the future.

I wasn't at the strategy meeting, but I really doubt
Spielberg and his developers created their ad for
*shock value.* I strongly doubt anyone said, hey let's
shock the bejeebers out of our prospective movie
audiences so they drop dead or maybe get so annoyed
with us they won't come to the movie. I expect they more
likely thought they were delivering a great creative
experience to the Internet. I still maintain that one
person's annoyance with audio is another's enjoyment.
And the audio volume, or potential shock capacity, is
for the most part a function of where the user has set
his/her volume.

Carmen Paulino

Received on Fri Jul 20 2001 - 17:46:28 CDT


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