Re: Tacky Gawker Stockings, or, Common Sense Rules for Advertising on the Internet

“New Media” is just that –   it is so new, the rules have yet to be defined.

Gawker Media recently ran a sponsored post for “Follow Me” knee-high stockings very unlike their current fashion ethos.  A former True/Slant colleague of mine, Raincoaster, tweeted:

If they’re going to run fashion ads, they NEED a fashion editor so they dont look stupid and/or desperate. That’s a pricy ad

The majority of the sponsored blog post debate has raged over the crumbling wall between editorial and advertorial, but I am not going to touch on those issues as I whole-heartedly support sponsored posts, on one condition. If the website in question has control over the ads.

Ads on websites should look like they belong there. Ads should either be advertising a product a reader would be interested in (the Gawker ad is not), and if that isn’t possible, the ad in question should at least blend into the background or match the color scheme of the web page. If ads are anything but, heaven forbid they are bright and jarring (a crime when you are trying to read) they forever scar the internet user and you can kiss their patronage goodbye.

Video ads on the internet are another group that needs tweaking. I can’t think of how many times I thought about getting  chocolate on some late night run, but I didn’t have a craving for a particular brand.  Upon reaching the candy aisle, I will see a Twix, immediately remember how much I hate their ads, and make my decision for chocolate off of that hate (no Twix have been purchased by me for years). I actually stopped watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on ComedyCentral.com because I could not stand those “Need a Moment” ads (which sometimes played 3 or 4 times an episode for lack of advertisers). Did Comedy Central employees find this ad campaign funny? Or did they not care and allow such trash to tarnish their website?

Such is the same with this sponsored post floating around on Gawker. Why would I, as a reader, want stockings that look like they’re from Hot Topic? I outgrew my gothy slutty phase, oh, 10 years ago?

While I have no screenshots to prove how bad some CollegeHumor ads have been in the past, their newest ad (Blackberry Torch) is subtle and looks like it might actually belong on the website. The product being advertised also makes sense to the demographic.

If CollegeHumor.com, with an Alexa rank of 1,041 (US = 462), can get their shit together regarding how to use advertising, why can’t Gawker Media (Alexa 688, US = 218)? Even CollegeHumor’s sponsored videos are somewhat entertaining.

If the ads fit the website, the more likely it is the reader/viewer will be responsive to the product. Common sense, any one?


One Comment on “Re: Tacky Gawker Stockings, or, Common Sense Rules for Advertising on the Internet”

  1. raincoaster says:

    Good post. I know for a fact (because their Ad page says so) that their minimum ad buy is $10,000. In-line ads that look like posts must surely be a great deal more than that. And this product is not only aesthetically appalling, it’s based on ancient Roman hooker marketing sandals (and when your product is LESS clever, classy and sexy than a hooker marketing initiative, you should just stop) and wait till someone tells Jezebel about that.


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