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I was surfing the web at night, catching up on my daily dose of news on theage.com.au when I came across an unusual ad. The medium rectangle ran a loop of a count down to “Activating Prize Status”. The banner had no brand name and message… just a call to action with a red flashing “Activate” with a horse.

 

Activate

Did I click on it? Yes I did just to find out what it was… and it turned out to be a Reader’s Digest DR campaign. >>

 

landing page

 

This raised a few issues with me:

1 – I’d expect these sort of bait and hook method to be found on lower quality sites. Especially Fairfax Digital’s strict stance on quality control of all ads, I’m surprised this got through.

2 – On the first level, the banner’s lack of messaging and branding to create relevance to the user will fail to generate click response. Apart from the red flashing “Activate” button, why would I click something that is a) dodgy looking b) has no relevance to me c) no incentive, and d) worth interrupting my time and take me away from my current page.

3 – If by chance I did click on it (because it was so bad), the landing page does an equally poor job in “selling” me Reader Digests. The site wants me to give my private details so I can enter a “Sweepstake” and most likely be bombarded by junk. And, if you’ve ever receive a “You have won!” letter from Reader’s Digest, it is a never ending loop of constant letters of “You are nearly there!”.

Given Reader’s Digest has the largest subscription based magazine in Australia (by a long shot), their readers tend to be deeply loyal to the brand and reading content. As such, rather than killing the trees by sending thick fat envelops and dodgy bait and hook DR methods, how about looking at it in a more emotional level and really understand the type of people who reads Reader’s Digest, where they can be found and how to engage in a deeper level to convert a subscription sale. I can think of numerous ways… So here is a tip for the agency / marketing manager..Reader Digest itself is already a community of readers, why not use them to be your ambassadors? Extend the community to promote your magazine in the best form of marketing… Word of Mouth.

How would you help Reader’s Digest?

 

 

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