Follow us on
Managing Editor and Online Editor

Ways of Thinking

By Thorin McGee

About Thorin

Thorin McGee is Managing Editor and Online Editor of the All About ROI magazine, and He's worked on several other Target Marketing Group products, including Denny Hatch's Business Common Sense and the Publishing Executive magazine and website ( Before joining NAPCO, Thorin worked on consumer media websites and magazines for Wizard Entertainment and helped design the now-defunct European careers website In Ways of Thinking, he probes trends, tools and tactics in marketing to and interacting with consumers online.



Michael Della Penna
Putting Pinterest to Work for Your Brand
Apr 20, 2012

Pinterest is the new hot property. Overnight this visual curation powerhouse has generated more traffic to websites than Twitter, Google+,...

Inside Mobile Marketing

Michael Becker
Following the Breadcrumbs to Guide People Through the Path to Purchase
Apr 10, 2014

  Marketing is about service; it's about helping a company identify and fulfill the needs, wants and desires of consumers....

Customer Experience Commerce

Jeannie Walters
Why Customer Experience Trumps User Experience
Jan 29, 2014

Whenever I'm asked to explain customer experience, I'm always hard-pressed for a short, easily digested answer. It's just so huge!...

Engagement Matters

Stephanie Miller
3 Key Lessons for Mobile Email Marketers
Mar 1, 2012

With mobile devices ranging from smartphones to iPads to e-readers to netbooks, the question isn't if you need a mobile strategy for...

Redefining Performance Marketing

Craig Greenfield
Facebook's Timeline for Brands: A Facebook Performance Opportunity
Mar 29, 2012

Facebook's new Timeline for Brands enables marketers to foster engagement with participants. This engagement can equal Facebook performance. Brands can...

15 Minutes Ahead

Luis Hernandez
How Evolving Mobile Behaviors are Raising the Stakes for Marketers
Jan 5, 2012

While none would argue that 2011 was the year of the mobile app, marketers have been hearing more noise about...

The View From Here

Melissa Campanelli
Everything You Want to Know About Email Marketing … and More
Nov 3, 2011

With the holidays fast approaching, it's a great time for email marketing professionals to give their programs a much needed...

Digital Marketing Takes Action

Heidi Cohen
Which is Better for Mobile Shopping, Tablets or Smartphones?
Jul 7, 2011

Are you wondering whether it’s worth providing your online retail offering on tablets, particularly the iPad? Are you also facing...

Are Ads Ubiquitous, Intrusive, Irrelevant and Offensive?


I'm reading "The Next Evolution of Marketing" by Bob Gilbreath, and he delivers an interesting message about how marketing that has meaning and adds value to  consumers' lives — before they buy anything from you — is more effective than traditional advertising. It's an interesting book I'll probably talk about more in a couple weeks.

However, Gilbreath drives his message home behind a point that consumers are irate at ads and avoid them like deadbeats dodging collections agents. He sharpens this attack with facts and stats such as  76% of Americans joined the National Do Not Call Registry, most people who own a DVR skip commercials, and software for blocking banner ads (Adblock Plus, and yes, it blocks regular, static banner ads, not just pop-ups) won PC World's "best product" award. Gilbreath describes a world where people hate advertising the way the Tea party hates taxes, and over the course of the first chapter says traditional messaging is "everywhere," "intrusive," "irrelevant" and "offensive."

He's certainly not alone in that opinion. Comedians and consultants alike love ranting about stupid advertising, and I've edited more than one article about advertisers basically wasting their money. The tradiitonal, godawfully expensive commercial is easy fodder for anyone recommending a new approach.

But me, I don't hate advertising, and I don't think most people care that much, either.

The squeaky eyeball gets the Visine, so when someone complains about advertising it makes the news — Gilbreath points out that a handful of calls can get companies to pull national campaigns. But I'm in my thirties, and I've got a lot of positive memories of traditional advertising. The Bud Bowl, Geico's Gecko, pretty much any ad run during the Super Bowl ... they can add to the fun, so I give them a chance. Same with movie previews — I really don't know if I want to see a movie or a new show until I see some ads for it — and coaster ads at the bar. I commute by train, so I relish reading something, anything, interesting on a billboard while waiting for a late one.

Ads can annoy me — anything can annoy me — but I'm not hostile to them. If commercial breaks are reasonable, I'm liable to let them run. I've even flipped channels to find spots I was interested in. If someone puts an ad in the restroom, I really couldn't care less (unless it's lookin' at me; that gets weird). I give web banners a chance to catch my click so long as they don't take 60 seconds to scroll down, stall my browser, or do something else ridiculous to tick me off (many do in fact do ridiculous things that tick me off, but that's for another future post.)

It's easy to overstate consumer hostility toward any for-profit project, but it's a mistake to attribute isolated outbursts to the whole audience. No one complains about marketing messages that interest them and convey information they want. And I think we're all going to be shocked by just how many consumers are happy to participate in initiatives, like Facebook's new privacy settings and global "like," that help you target marketing to them even more.

(If you want me to look at a book, send it to me at the NAPCO offices: 1500 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia, PA 19130. I make no promises. We're not doing book reviews or a book of the week or anything that relies on me consuming more than a dozen pages a weekend. But I will take a look at anything you send. If it sparks an idea, I'll work it into Ways of Thinking.)



Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments: