SOURCE: Carton Donofrio Partners

Carton Donofrio Partners

February 02, 2010 11:30 ET

Advertising Agency Launches "StopTheAdness"

Initiative Brings Consumers, Advertisers, Agencies and the Media Together to Put an End to Advertising Madness

BALTIMORE, MD--(Marketwire - February 2, 2010) - In the age of advertising overload, it's no secret that consumers are fed up with intrusive and offensive advertising. To address this burgeoning problem, Carton Donofrio Partners, an advertising agency in Baltimore, today launched "StopTheAdness," a new consumer-driven initiative which aims to change the way advertising is done.

"Advertising simply isn't working as well as it could because the social contract -- the implicit agreement advertisers and consumers have established to support a productive exchange -- has been violated," said David Smith, executive creative director at Carton Donofrio Partners. "The average person's exposed to over 5,000 ads per day*. Advertising professionals are now the second least trusted professionals in the world after politicians.**"

By asking consumers what they want, and giving them www.StopTheAdness.org, an online laboratory where they can start conversations, make contributions and provide feedback, Carton Donofrio Partners is taking a stand against advertising madness and working to inspire change. As part of the movement, Carton Donofrio Partners is also inviting advertisers, agencies and the media, who've been talking about the future of advertising -- and the implications of new technologies and new business models -- to listen in, collaborate and contribute.

The Carton Donofrio Partners project took its inspiration from ethnographic field work conducted in the summer of 2009 by the agency's sister company, Context-Based Research Group, on behalf of The Associated Press. Context has explored attitudes about news and advertising as part of a set of ethnographic studies for The AP since 2007. That research concluded that information providers should try to build stronger bonds of trust and community with consumers to deepen their engagement with news and advertising.

"StopTheAdness.org is a place where we (the industry and consumers) can articulate our likes and dislikes about advertising to learn what we can collectively do to improve it," added Smith. "Marketing needs to be more effective for consumers, thereby making it more effective for brands. Ultimately we're hoping to collaboratively create a new social contract for advertising."

StopTheAdness is supported by Worldwide Partners, the largest owner-operated global agency network.

"We applaud StopTheAdness.org. Carton Donofrio's initiative is in today's spirit of asking consumers to join important conversations, and anything that can help our business improve our image is a worthwhile endeavor," said Mike Donahue, executive vice president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the national trade association of the advertising agency business.

The goal of the movement is to improve advertising. To that end, www.StopTheAdness.org includes:

-- A Pledge: which asks advertisers, agencies and the media to commit to
   change their behavior
-- What's on Your Mind: which opens the dialogue with consumers and the
   industry
-- A Wall of Fame: which praises those who are doing it right
-- A Wall of Shame: which exposes those who offend and irritate consumers
-- Emailed reports: Carton Donofrio Partners has utilized anthropologists
   from Context-Based Research Group to analyze the conversations taking
   place in the laboratory to learn how to make advertising better.
   Findings will be emailed to those who sign up to receive them.

The site also showcases videos demonstrating "adness." These videos show how bad advertising:

-- Bombards consumers' personal space
-- Serves inappropriate material to the wrong audience at the wrong time.

Carton Donofrio Partners, Inc.

Carton Donofrio Partners is an award-winning advertising agency in Baltimore. With a vision to change advertising by making it welcome and invited into customers' lives, they help their clients become more meaningful to their customers. To do this effectively, they tap their proprietary global network of anthropologists who study customer motivations and needs to uncover more relevant insight to inform their creative, media, digital, and integrated ideas. The agency is a member of Worldwide Partners which enables them to work seamlessly with 91 independent agencies in 51 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.cartondonofrio.com or call 410.576.9000.

*Source: Yankelovich's "Coming to Concurrence" 2005

**Source: GFK study, June 2009