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At Last, Advertising for Humans That Works

Date: October 06, 2015

Summary:
PNYC, a sibling company to marketing firm Partners & Napier, helped Outdoor Advertising Association of America launch an ad campaign that focuses on real consumer engagement.

Body:
PNYC, a sibling company to marketing firm Partners & Napier, helped Outdoor Advertising Association of America launch an ad campaign that focuses on real consumer engagement. The campaign, currently running in New York City, directly asks viewers if they have seen the advertisement. Each poster, truck, billboard and window advertisement has a binary code with a website URL encouraging people to participate in an online survey.

The survey, hosted at FeelTheReal.org, is a set of questions designed to determine whether the respondent is a real human being or a digital media robot program. It’s similar in concept to the Captcha form at the end of many online surveys, though the specific questions are different.

The idea behind the FeelTheReal campaign is to expose and investigate the problem of false responses and robotic entries into digital marketing efforts. Since many digital marketing firms get paid according to the number of responses they receive, some aren’t above padding their results with robotic respondents. Even when paid a flat fee, those artificially inflated results can give them an impressive-looking record when looking for additional clients.

The ad spots are visually stark: black and red lettering on a white background, along with some binary code running along one side. Though its simplicity is a turn-off to some, it actually stands out in the full-color, interactive, busily-blocked landscape that is modern display advertising.

By the end of the website’s survey, individuals can see how much of a marketer’s budget will have real people see it: 8%. The other 92 percent breaks down to fraud, robots and 52 percent may have no visual contact by anyone. Digital marketing companies can take these facts as they want, and marketers have raised awareness of what to look for.

The campaign is running strong into winter of 2015, occupying panels and boards throughout New York. Those who answer the survey receive a prize at the end, but we won’t spoil the surprise. 

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