Last month I went looking for a pair of 8-1/2 EEEE shoes on the Zappos.com. I spent a long time with Zappos (a subsidiary of Amazon.com) and found the shoes I wanted.
For reasons to be explained later, I went direct to the website of the manufacturer—New Balance—and bought my shoes there.
For days afterwards, ads for Zappos started turning up as I surfed various websites—Slate.com, PhillyNews.com, Find-a-Grave.com and Time.com—to name four.
In the media player at right you can see the ads with wee photographs of shoes that I had looked at.
This is a truly stupid advertising technique created by the newest breed of smug little 20-somethings—dazzled by their technical wizardry and unable to get inside the heads of those with whom they are communicating.
These goons were first loosed on the Internet in the late 1990s.
"The Internet is a new medium and a new paradigm," they told us marketing geezers. "The old rules of marketing don't apply. It's a world of new rules and we make them."
Because of this philosophy, billions of dollars were lost in the great dot-com bust of 2000.
Why Zappos' Marketing People Should Be Zapped
In these ads under the Zappos logo (in mousetype) was the question: "Why am I seeing this ad?" Click on it, and up comes this smartypants headline and copy:
Some People Prefer Rainbows, And Others Prefer Unicorns. If you prefer not to see personalized ads, we totally get it.
OPT OUT HERE.
At Zappos.com, we know different people like different things, so we want our ads to reflect that. That's why we love these ads! They display products that are relevant to you versus a typical ad that showcases a limited product offering.
Translation: "This is not about you-the prospect or customer. It's all about us! Oh, Wow! Are we ever clever!"