Image courtesy of M&G

Time for a quick rant.

I have long felt that the one of the guiding principles for advertising is that it should do some good in consumer’s lives even if they chose to ignore or avoid it.

I may have no interest in the press ad at the bottom of my newspaper but it is helpfully subsidising the cost of my read, partially in most cases and completely with free sheets. I read once that the UK’s Guardian newspaper would cost £6 rather than 70p without advertising. So you see, the ad has done me some good and every other Guardian reading planner in North London.
Clearly this is also the case with advertiser funded free to air TV, much outdoor (where councils benefit from the income), advertising on public transport and obviously online where advertising often facilitates the delivery of entirely free product.
And this principle is one of the reasons I hate much ambient marketing that Russell describes as Urban Spam. Because the only beneficiaries of the activity are the brand owners and the people that chose to engage.
So why the hell do we have to put up with pre-roll advertising on DVDs? Or rather why to we have to put up with pre-roll advertising on DVDs that you cannot skip? Advertising that you are forced to watch despite paying through the nose for the content.
Theoretically this is no worse than your average interruptive TV ad but somehow the viewing experience of DVD movies means that enforced advertising of this nature is uniquely irritating. You’ve paid your money, you have sat down to be entertained by a movie you have chosen specifically to watch and you are made to endure an ad or two without the option to skip.
What scumbag at the distribution company faced with the option of allowing people to skip the ads and previews (as say Disney do because they understand the likelihood of pre-schoolers putting up with this nonsense) decides to enforce viewing to no benefit of the viewer? I have a very strong desire to beat them to death with sticks.
I recently experienced enforced advertising on a copy of Charlie Wilson’s War for a UN anti-aids message featuring minute after arse-grinding minute of Gwyneth Paltrow reading a poem. And don’t give me any of that simpering ‘its a good cause’ bollocks, it is but the ends never justify the means. The same weekend I had to put up with enforced Blue Ray advertising on The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, a more considerable pain since I watched it over two nights and so had to have the message rammed down my neck twice.
Advertising may interrupt my life if it is doing some good in that life or facilitating my enjoyment of the advertising environment (whether TV channel or clean street). Advertising viewing must never be enforced, especially when the only beneficiary is the advertiser.
So movie distributers please cut the crap and let us skip all or any of the content on your DVD, especially when we have already paid you so handsomely for the movie in the first place.
Otherwise I will expect to buy my DVDs for £1 from now on.

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