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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How NOT To Advertize On The Internet

I recently sent the following email to Shopko. I found their reply interesting enough to send them a second email, and this is how the exchange went:
Customer Feedback received 11/16/2011:
Whoever thought it would be a great idea to put your Black Friday Sneak Peek online as a PDF file is an idiot! The ad presents so small that we can't see what the sale products are and when we zoom in (assuming everybody knows how to do that) to see the products, the description becomes so distorted that we can't read it! Somebody at ShopKo needs to pull their head out and take a look at what they've done to the BF sale.

Shopko's reply:
The intention of the sneak peek was for customers to be able to see some of our best deals and to plan ahead for their shopping trips. We did not have it set up like our usual online ads where you can click through and get full product information because the offers are not available yet and we did not want to confuse people by linking through to our site that would show different pricing.
The ad will be posted in the same format as all other ads at next Thursday and you will be able to zoom and get full product information at that time.
Liz Pedretti
Digital Marketing Specialist
Shopko Stores Operating Co.

I thought this was a surprisingly weak explanation, and replied:

Hello Liz,
The key word here is SEE. That's the whole idea in visual advertising, and the PDF approach failed to achieve its intended goal.
What was meant as an attempt to not "confuse people", I'm certain actually became an irritant to many besides me. The difference is that thousands of annoyed people will keep their annoyance to themselves, whereas I chose to share mine with you in the hope that you would seriously consider not using PDF files for advertising again. It was like offering to "show" photographs to Stevie Wonder! "Hey, Stevie... look at this!"
Many people aren't familiar enough with their PDF reader to even know they have a "zoom" feature in it, and probably thought "WTF?", (I speak from 20+ years experience with computers - many of those years being spent performing customer relations in my own computer business) and then they simply closed their reader since they couldn't identify anything in the ad after the first large graphic.
Just a little "food for thought"...
Giving credit where credit is due, Shopko DID reply to my concerns, even though their response didn't actually address the issue.

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