Surprise Delivery / Banner Blindness / Forthcoming

Somewhat surprisingly I got a phone call this morning to say that the Panasonic was on its way. Despite being quoted 10-14 working days I find it's in my house within 3. Impressed.
Spent this morning having a think about online marketing. Specifically newsletters and banner ads. I'm shortly going to be required to assist on a banner ad project and I'm really cynical about their usage. I can't help projecting my own personal browsing interpretation on the experience. Personally I don't actually recall ever clicking on an ad - even if it's presented in a search engine. This kind of approach is affectionately termed 'request marketing' and the theory goes that you effectively sought out some information ('requested' it) and therefore you're more likely to use the ad to complete your goal. I think this model is wrong. I resent anyone telling me that their information is more relevant than someone elses or more useful than someone elses simply by virtue of the fact that they've paid for their ad to be optimised to a search request. I value Google's approach of page-rank (though I can't think of any users that actively vote on each page they visit) and web-designers that use META tags to optimise their page findability. A lazy effort to produce a pop-over or banner that glares in my face will not make me click.
But does it make other people click? Not according to Nielsen and the other supporters of the theory of banner blindness (and here). Users still follow the laws of cognitive primacy and Geshtalt ordering where the most important and relevant items are placed at the top and in semantically ordered groups. Imagine a 'real world' analogy where you're reading a paper. If someone was to throw an advert on your page and obstruct your view you'd be irritated and screw it up surely? This happens all the time on the web and you're forced to look around for the X or 'close window' button. The proliferation of pop-up blockers and the like are indications that users want to get back in control.
Trouble is. the client's going to want a banner ad - because they've had them before - and all they'll want to know is the click through rate. I'll have to start talking about loyalty and how much time the user is investing on the site and suddenly the issue swells. Perhaps it's time to take Jakob's advice (again!) and direct them towards a text based low-fi model and start thinking about click-through rates in a smarter way.
Anyway, future topics coming up include accessibility vs. usability (are they mutually exclusive?) and 'ho-hum' - how the web is becoming 'same old, same old'.
Have a good weekend. Oh, take a look at this link for some amusing management-style de-motivation pics.


Empirical Evidence

Disappointed today as I'd hoped to be able to purchase my new TV ... a Panasonic TX28PM11C from Empire Direct. They quoted me a decent enough price but delivery time of 10-14 working days. Shocking. I thought these warehouse places held massive amounts of stock. Still not sure whether I'll use the power of Kelkoo to source one cheaper and sooner - there's just something not quite right in my mind about using the less well-know online brands. It's a trust issue and I can't really put my finger on why I wouldn't but there you go.

Went and saw the chaps (Mark and Alex) from Creative Sponge on Friday. They treated us to a few beers and a decent chat about all areas of marketing and branding including some real down-to-earth perspectives on the future of the web and e-marketing. Their website's now advanced to a less embryonic state and gives a good taster of what's to come. Just as impressive as their hospitality and enthusiasm was the building they reside in. Andrew Gibbs' netherconesford development is incredibly welcoming. The history of the building is echoed throughout with original features but the place feels incredibly contemporary and worthy of such an aspirational and creative set of tennants. I can't wait until the rest of it is developed - including the wine bar.