The internet's most annoying campaigns

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Devastation through irritation

"Annoying" is mostly in the eye of the beholder. Our opinions are guided by our individual sense of humor and personal interests. Thus, different folks have different ideas of what a marketing faux pas looks like. However, there are a few universally irritating online marketing missteps that almost everyone can agree on. In the worst cases, these ill-conceived online ads can prove financially devastating for brands, as irritating ads can be costly while simultaneously ruining brand reputation.

Yet, annoying marketing campaigns continue to proliferate on the web -- junking up the websites we browse, interfering with our internet viewing capabilities, slowing down our searches, boring us to death with excessive repetition, offending us in unimaginable ways, surprising us when we don't want to be surprised and, ultimately, wasting our precious time.

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For this article, we asked a panel of industry experts to discuss their picks for the most annoying marketing campaigns -- from creepy retargeting methods to ill-placed banner ads that are bound to irritate even the most forgiving internet user. Read on to find out what brands shouldn't do to get attention on the internet, and gain insight into how companies can avoid advertising mishaps that might ultimately result in considerable reputation damage.

In the end, perhaps Mom said it best: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.



Lori Luechtefeld
Lori Luechtefeld March 21, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Thanks for your response, Keith. And indeed, Andrew, if you read the article more closely, you'll see that the opinions expressed in terms of the campaigns themselves come from six distinct industry members, each of whom has significant background in digital marketing. The intent here was to get a wide sampling of opinions on this topic, as a means of illuminating broader insights and current best (and worst) practices.

Furthermore, I would take issue with the idea that anyone's opinion on a campaign is irrelevant. Digital marketers can and should take lessons from anecdotal praise or criticism when it comes to their campaigns -- no matter the specific expertise or time the reviewer has spent in our industry.

We certainly welcome more detailed feedback from you on any campaigns or points in the article with which you disagreed.

Keith Pape
Keith Pape March 21, 2011 at 7:49 AM

Hey Andrew,

1.not a single female contributed to this article's content

2. Why the personal attack on the editor? Let's keep it professional

3. If you don't like something I or the others said, why don't you try and be specific to that particular campaign, not personal attacks, it's an op ed piece and open to relevant discussion

Andrew Osterday
Andrew Osterday March 21, 2011 at 5:51 AM

This is why you don't let interns write articles. What annoys her is irrelevant and unimportant.