Nissan & (A Lack of) Permission Marketing

“In an advertising campaign that began last week, Nissan left 20,000 sets of keys in bars, stadiums, concert halls and other public venues. Each key ring has a tag that says: “If found, please do not return. My next generation Nissan Altima has Intelligent Key with push-button ignition, and I no longer need these”…There is no selfish reason to bend down and pick up a key ring, but Nissan knows that we will bend without thinking because the impulse to help is bred into our marrow. Our best instinct will be awakened by a key ring and then punished by a commercial.”
New York Times

I deal with this sort of thing everyday at work, and it annoys me every time. The advertising industry seems so consumed with the big, clever idea that they forget they’re advertising TO PEOPLE. And you can only piss people off so many times before they instinctively hate your brand and shut you out. They don’t have to listen.

Now that consumers have tried their best to shut advertising out of their TV experience (thanks to Tivo) and to a lesser extent their web-browsing experience (thanks to pop-up blockers), the ad industry is becoming so obtrusive that out-of-home campaigns like Nissan’s still manage to manipulate their way into our lives.

Most advertisers and marketers probably think this is a good thing because they’re exposing potential customers to their brand, but when I don’t give you permission to enter my personal space and you do anyway, I will hate you and distrust everything you try to say to me.