What were you thinking NZHerald?

In last night’s post on NBR I made the flip comment that Stuff and NZHerald will continue to fight it out neck sand neck unless one of them does something stupid.

Well today NZHerald decided that they didn’t real want people reading their news – but instead showed a large interstitial of an incomprehensible Coca Cola advertisement.

This was the entire front page:

It went on:

and when the page did load – so did a distracting video. I’m just glad the internets decided to work this morning.

All in all Coca Cola probably feel that they got their point across – although I still don’t understand the point. Indeed just as I have trained myself to feel ill whenever I step into a MacDonalds store (with that smell it is easy), so I am training myself to increasingly resist the dubious lure of advertising backed brown sugary water. It’s much healthier, more sustainable and easier to carry around and fill up water bottles.

Published by Lance Wiggs


23 replies on “What were you thinking NZHerald?”

      1. Why did you see it? Because blanket advertising is sometimes still an effective means of reaching your target audience. nzherald.co.nz is one of the 10 most popular websites in New Zealand.

        Those crazy Coca-Cola marketing people.


        1. Well, we really don’t know how many people it really annoyed do we. I know you certainly didn’t like or get the advertisement, but as I said before, it probably wasn’t targeted at you.

          More invasive ads for free content websites are here to stay, so lets just move on. This blog usually covers much more relevant topics, lets not bother complaining about online advertising which will always to some degree be an annoyance.


  1. I do like the fact that it is running on one of the grayest (in Auckland) days in a few weeks, Welcome Cola summer indeed.

    One (possibly the only) good thing about the execution is that it doesn’t show again on subsequent reloads, unless you clear the cache. Although, since most people will spend the seconds that the ad displays trying to work out how they ended up on the wrong site rather than reading the message being this a repeat showing may have been wise (and stupid).


  2. Hmmm…I didn’t get served this today – must be targeted in some way. From memory they often serve these only to certain browser types as other forms of targeting are quite challenging. They struggle to targeted geographically or by demo…


  3. We’ve all developed fully-functional blinders accross the header and down each side of most websites. Or we just install ad-blocking software.

    As the effectiveness of ads fall, advertisers get less impact from their ads, and buy less ads.

    Newspapers try to save their source of revenue and wall off their offering, shinning the spotlight on what really matters.

    Alternatively, the price goes up. ref: https://lancewiggs.com/2009/11/29/2134-nbrs-performance-since-the-wall/

    Rock and a hard place?

    There needs too be an option C


  4. I’d like to point out that quite obviously neither Stuff, MSN, TV3 or TVNZ wanted people to read their news today either as all sites are running the same creative, not just nzherald. Appears to be a bit of favouritism here?


  5. @ Anon: NZHerald was the only site that ran the “interstitial ad” format though, which blocks immediate access to the homepage content (and which is what I think Lance was referring to as ‘not wanting readers to read their content’).

    However, in all fairness, there is a huge “Go to NZHerald.co.nz” link at the top right corner of the ad which allows you to skip the execution completely.

    Contrary to the conventional wisdom, some people do view ads (whether they like it or not is another story). I don’t know what numbers Shane is looking at, but the latest IAB expenditure report shows a strong Q309, with increases in display advertising again.

    Trying to say that ‘ad effectiveness’ is dropping is a very simplistic generalisation of ‘advertising’ as a communications strategy. You’re making an assumption (at best) or accusation (at worst) that advertisers are just throwing money down the drain… You’d think that Coca-Cola, one of the most valuable and oldest brands in the world, would know something about advertising accountability, effectiveness and return on investment.


  6. Lance, I think Coke thinks since they spent so much money to cannibalise the site they don’t need any other good reason for it… :)

    This used to happen a lot earlier this decade, but I’m surprised to see Coke thinks the practice is alive and well. Shame shame.


  7. Don’t really understand the point of your argument.

    Fact: The Ad was frequency capped to be 1 per view which needs to be per browser because it uses cookies, just like any other Ad would (except no one else but nzherald seem to have figured out how to target other browsers except IE). So unless you were trying many different browsers, you would only see it once.

    Fact: There was a clear ‘Go to nzherald.co.nz website’ link to skip the Ad. All you had to do was click on it.

    Fact: If you want good quality free content online, Ads are part of the deal.


  8. @keld: Q309 is recovering, not strong – from it’s losses in Q2 and earlier (http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS21957509), which granted, is better than expected.

    This is online. Offline, things don’t look so rosy. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/29/the-wounded-us-newspaper-industry-lost-75-billion-in-advertising-revenues-last-year/)

    Effectiveness is not so easy to measure.

    Let’s ask firefox. Their ad-blocker add-on is in the top 10 shared add-on’s for their browser and has been downloaded 63,203,135 times.

    You’re about to say, ‘hold on! Just because people don’t want to see them, doesnt mean they’re not effective’.

    It turns out there’s a name for it. Jakob Nielson calls it Banner Blindness. It’s hard for them to be effective if you don’t see them.

    Have a look at the picture: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/banner-blindness-examples.jpg
    ref: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/banner-blindness.html


  9. @ Shane: I think you’re missing the point.

    Simply saying that X number of people have ad blockers installed is like saying 90% of people switch channels when TV ads screen.

    Effectiveness isn’t measured by how many people saw an ad. That’s reach.

    Effectiveness is a measure of whether the ad viewed by the recipients, understood or acted upon the message that the advertiser intended, against the dollar spent on one medium/site versus another.

    People ‘not viewing’ advertisements is a fact of life. It’s like switching channels during TV ads. The only people touting this line as the doom of advertising are those who pretend to know what advertising is about. I don’t know why you’d include the people who ‘opt out’ of advertising into the loop, as clearly, the effectiveness measure will only include the number of people who actually viewed the ad and their subsequent responses.

    Oh and by the way, since we were talking about a NZ site, the IAB numbers I quoted were from IAB NZ. At ~$17 million this quarter, it’s the highest its ever been.

    Sure, we can have a discussion around global stats. But how effective would that be if you don’t focus on the domestic factors?


  10. PS: The $17 million was for display only, but the total digital expenditure for Q309 was about $57 million, again the highest for a quarter that it’s ever been.


  11. Dear advertiser,

    Of the 100 page views we had, 5 people who couldnt figure out how to avoid your ad saw it.

    Of those 5, one person accidentally clicked on it. Congrats! that’s a 20% click through. That rates as a highly effective ad!!

    ok, seriously… I think we both understand where the other is coming from. Ads arent going anywhere for a good long while. A lot rides on them. I sold and relied on them once upon a time.

    The intent of my original comment was to draw thoguht to a possible third option beyond OptionA: Ads and OptionB: Selling content/micropayments.


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