This week saw French publishers stand united in a charge against people blocking ads. Asking people not to block ads or installing an ad blocker-blocker is one route to combatting the growing trend, but this tends not to be the opinion that creative directors take.
During one of Asia’s biggest advertising festivals last week, Adfest, we asked three creatives for their view on ad blocking and it was unanimous that the industry needs to find a new solution.
Eric Cruz, executive creative director, AKQA Shanghai
“They are trying to fit the wrong peg into the wrong hole. They are trying to force-fit an old model of communicating and marketing into a new form, rather than celebrating the new form for what it really is. It should be about figuring out a new way. Even the pre-roll ad on YouTube’s part, I understand why they did it, it’s to monetise the whole thing, but is that really the best way to have done it?
"I look at it as a transitional period in time because, if you really think about it, the more and more brands that create branded content, the more and more they won’t rely on a 15 second pre-roll and instead drive people to real content that will be celebrated by people. It seems like a Band-Aid solution.”
Richard Fraser, regional managing director, Proximity APAC
“When you dig under the hood, having data and creativity in one sentence can create an anxiety. Some people, particularly from the creative core, say they don’t buy it.
"Some of that is coming from the fact that programmatic is dominant now and there are still some questions about the creative elements of programmatic. There are questions about how data can be used to contextually target people. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good you are at targeting someone, the content has got to be compelling, it’s got to be engaging and it’s got to drive a behaviour change. That’s how it delivers for the brand. So if the ad isn’t good, it doesn’t matter how good your targeting is.”
Luke Ritchie, executive producer, Nexus Interactive
"I see ad blocking as a good thing. If we look at all the areas where tech has caused disruption, it hasn’t collapsed the industry that’s within it, what it has done is forced very intelligent, innovative, new companies to come up with solutions and then we build upon them. You only have to look at things like the music scene and Spotify. The amount of people that now pay Spotify £10 a month that used to download their own music illegally is vast.
"We can sit here and try and build more complex algorithms to stop it or shut down all the blockers but I think it will just happen naturally, technology does that. So I think it’s more about finding a better way to put those ads in there. It could be a totally different model.
"One of the massive things about mobile is that people don’t make these platforms for adverts. It’s not like someone came up with an idea and thought of the real estate and said, ‘let’s put an ad at the bottom’, it all got retrofitted and I don’t think we have high metrics about people pushing those things anyway. It’s not working anyway, we need a solution but I say: good, let's disrupt it and find another way to solve it.”