Things That Suck, #954: Pop-Up Ads On Top Of My Movie.

Okay, so I’m watchin’ Alien, right? Classic movie.

And I’m at that part where John Hurt keels over sick, right? And they lay him on the table. And then…and then…just when I’m ready for the alien to pop up out of his chest, some stinkin’ ad pops up instead, down on the bottom of the screen advertising a bad TV show. So now, instead seeing of a toothy alien spattered with gore, I’m taking in this horrifying image of the New Jersey Housewives.

Being in the advertising business, you’d think I’d be more forgiving about these ads; that I’d understand how ads-pay-for-the-content-I’m-enjoying-bah-blah. No, this is different. When the ads invade the content, when they appear on top of my movie? Dude, that’s way different than cutting to a commercial. That’s like a fat guy in the theater seat in front of me standing up and shoutin’, “HEY, CATCH UP WITH THOSE GOSSIPY, EYE-SCRATCHING WHORES IN THE NEXT EPISODE OF ‘NEW JERSEY HOUSEWIVES!’”

Hey, TV-programmer-guys? C’mere.

Listen, uh, can we draw the line at invading content? Seriously. Otherwise, what’s next? I’ll be reading Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities. “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. In fact, it’s Miller Time!”

No. Okay?

Just, … no.

In fact, while we’re on the subject, I feel the same way about cinema ads. Here I’ve just paid $9 for a ticket and a little over $400 for a small popcorn, and I wanna see content, okay? Trailers, movies, either one, but not ads.

With maybe one exception.

If there could be a really good creative director in charge of which commercials were allowed to play in theaters, maybe I’d think about it. You’d couldn’t just buy the media. You had to apply for it. And only entertaining, viral-worthy spots ended up on the silver screen. Which would be cool because … [–ADVERTISEMENT: Tired of the boring blogs? Want to read a good one? Try Mashable today! END ADVERTISEMENT–]…never mind.


  1. Here cinema ads are mostly video clips for beer brands so it really doesn’t bother me that much. Now if they mess with the content of the movie, well that’s another story. It’s invasive and just plain stupid. What moron let some brand spoil my favorite film? I don’t believe that that kind of advertising does any good to the brand (either the network, the channel, the program, etc);
    Leave my content alone! And my bathroom since we’re on the subject of intrusive advertisement.

    • Agreed. The bathroom is another “sacred” place that should be off limits to we advertisers.

  2. I can’t believe that soon my viewing pleasure will be a thing of the past here in India. We so follow everything American. While there’s so much that we can surely embrace, this madness you have just described is a shame to the word intrusion itself. Do the one’s advertising in this way truly believe that they will gain from such misplaced media placements? Gosh! I guess media placements should be a mandatory subject in business school. And a lecture on intrusion on graduation day.

    • Hey Rajesh: I should point out, the only advertiser that intrusive is usually the television networks themselves. They do not mind pooping in their own kitchen. They advertise one show ON TOP OF another.

  3. What are your thoughts on ads in elevators?

    • Those “Captivate” media buys in elevators? They don’t BUG me, but I can’t say how effective they are. The thing is, elevators make so many people uncomfortable that those little TV screens may be of some relief to them. They certainly aren’t as INVASIVE as ads in my movies.


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Luke Sullivan

Author, speaker, and ad veteran available to recharge, reinvigorate, and refocus marketing, advertising, and branding firms.

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