CYBERCRITIQUE: Uproar wastes chance to deliver positive message

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WHERE TO FIND IT: and elsewhere

CRITIQUE: There's a guy who plays the accordion in a Chicago subway station from time to time. Taking full advantage of the cavernous space and reverberating sound, he squeezes the life out of this poor instrument with what can only be described as cool, calculated vengeance. Does he get paid for his performance? Sort of. He'll stop playing if you give him a buck. By definition, he's a professional, but no one would call him a musician.

Uproar has been running a banner for some time that is the advertising equivalent of this performer. Red and green colors blink and flash with the exhortation to "Click on this banner to make it go away." The click-through does indeed change the banner, a neat little trick, and takes consumers to a pop-up window with a quiz that still fails to deliver a message explaining what Uproar is all about. After taking the quiz, the site (a gaming and puzzle site, in case you were wondering) asks users to register and waste more of their time dealing with such irritations.

This hovers on the line between advertising and straight-up harassment. Uproar isn't alone in this approach. Banners that look like computer error messages are another example of a trend that should have died by now. There might not be such a thing as bad press, but there is such a thing as a wasted chance to deliver a positive message.

The consumer at best forgets the name of the advertiser. At worst, he or she remembers the marketer as "the ones with the annoying ads."


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