Advertising and skittishness

This was posted by a couple people today and is a short but to the point post concerning the web and distracting advertising. In a post titled “On advertising” Mandy Brown of a working library writes that:

There is no end to this, in that short of eviscerating the content all together (and removing any impetus the reader might have to visit in the first place), our attention to the advertisements is always waning. Sadly, our attention elsewhere also suffers and declines; instead of staying still to read, we skitter from place to place, like frightened prey assured the predators are near.

This is somewhat tangentially related to a point that I was attempting to make a while back concerning the decline of attention spans and print journalism. Unfortunately I think that Brown is right on here. Even some of my favourite companies have devolved into ever more distracting and disrupting advertising.

The iPod Touch ad that Apple has run on the homepage of ESPN as well as on Yahoo! Games is a prime example of this. The ad involves an animated iPod Touch moving and showing the accelerometer feature and how it can be used in games. Instead of staying confined to a box of ad space this one moves beyond that. It moves outside of the traditional ad frame and actually disrupts the content on the page (even major content like navigation menus). For an example, see below:

With ads like this becoming more the norm Brown is exactly right when she writes that, “instead of staying still to read, we skitter from place to place.”