If you look at history, the places we do the most communicating are typically ones where we try and "escape" brands. Not saying that we changed communication platforms as a result of marketing, but it probably acted as a catalyst for movement. Snail mail was overrun by direct mail ads. They started out as an effective medium and lost value over time. Telemarketers corrupted our phone lines. Email now has folders marked for spam. Internet ads used to be the most effective marketing medium in terms of click through rates - but now if you can get a 1% click-thru rate you're a marketing genius.

Is it really that brands interrupt our lives and are unwelcome? Do we actively try to hide from marketing messages any way we can? Is the reason platforms like Path are emerging, since they currently have no marketing pushes inside the platform?

I don't think so. I think generally we would welcome brands, provided those brands add value.

Add Value, Not Noise

Take a look at the Super Bowl. Over 100 million people tune into watch it. Are 100 million people that interested in the teams playing in the game? Of course not. They tune in because they are interested in seeing the newest ads that come out - most of which have never been seen before. The ads, unlike most of the year, are highly entertaining. They provide value to users in two ways:

  • Entertainment
  • Exclusivity
Sure, we all look forward to Super Bowl commercials because they're funny. However, there is also an "exclusive" angle to it. Many times, the only times these commercials could be seen was during the game. People who took the time to watch the big game were privy to the best advertisers had to offer.
Providing Value in Functionality

Now look at what Nike does for the running community with Nike Plus. They add value to runners by providing a tool for runners to track their progress, encourage themselves with an interesting integration with their iPods and even personalized messages from Nike athletes providing words of encouragement. Nike doesn't interrupt people's lives with meaningless marketing pushes (well...maybe sometimes) but instead is adding value to the lives of its potential customers.
Don't Interrupt
We keep leaving social networks, throwing out junk mail and screen calls because we become fatigued from marketing messages. The brands we grow tired of the slowest are the ones that add value to our day-to-day, whether it be applications they provide us or the value in their actual products or services. Finding a frictionless way into consumers' lives works better than a traditional marketing push more times than not.
What do you think? Do brands interrupt too often? What other brands do you see truly "adding value" out there?