UNICEF have used an ingenious tactic to beat ad blockers, one that’s sure to make other charities pay attention.
Our recent look at the ad-blocker backlash focused on the practical implications for advertisers and publishers alike.
While that’s an important consideration and is likely to be what prompts businesses to act on ad blockers, it’s not what’s going to change user behaviour.
UNICEF Sweden, in conjunction with Swedish agency Edelman Deportivo, hard coded their ads into the news website Dagens Nyheter.
Not only does this bypass ad blockers, it actually targets ad-block users exclusively.
How do you advertise to Ad Block users?
Ad blockers work by preventing ads from loading onto a page. Rather than being filled with ads, website ad space appears to the user as clean, blank space. Some smaller publishers code clever messages in that space requesting that ad block users consider ‘white listing’ their site and allowing ads to appear so they can gather revenue.
This is one of the most prominent instances of a big publisher utilising unused ad space, especially for such a groundbreaking ad.
The ad copy reads “Children’s rights should never be blocked” accompanied by a cuter version of the Ad Block logo. When it comes to the topic of unheard voices, and Ad Block user is an ideal audience.
It also brings attention to the often under-used argument that ad blockers hurt advocacy efforts just as much as poor quality and annoying banner ads.
And according to Edelman Deportivo, the agency behind the idea, it worked. The ad had three times as many engagements as the average banner ad which is about 3 per cent of all viewers.
According to Mashable about 25 per cent of Swedish web users have ad blockers installed, making it an ideal location to try out such a daring strategy. Had the message and cause not been right, it’s perfectly possible that users would have been left feeling resentful had the ad been for a less morally untouchable organisation.
How to strike the balance is summed up perfectly by UNICEF’s marketing manager, Jim Carlberg: “What we think is most interesting is this comes to prove if you have relevant messages with the right context then people are interested in hearing what you have to say,”