Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have an office job? One that involves a computer, a desk, and likely a roll-y chair?
If you’re one of the select few that haven’t experienced one, it goes a little something like this: It’s 2:03 (and by the way, we know that because our eyes have been darting back and forth from whatever we’re supposed to be doing to the tiny digital clock in the corner of the screen for what feels like an eternity). 2:03 means enough time has passed that the morning coffee buzz has worn off, the office walls are starting to absorb all the oxygen in the room, there’s no more food to look forward to (which is the worst part in my opinion), and yet the end of the workday is nowhere in sight. They say it’s 5:00 somewhere, but that somewhere is not here and let’s face it, that’s really all that matters unless you’re Jimmy Buffett…
For a lot of us, the easiest way to fast-forward time during one of these slumps is to browse the Internet real quick. Whether we use it to stalk our ex’s ex on Facebook, create 15 random Pandora stations, or (ironically) hit “I’m feeling lucky” over and over again, it seems the Internet browsing break has replaced the equally disruptive water cooler gossiping break. It’s the little jet-pack we strap on that momentarily takes our mind outside of work and automatically makes anything we do afterward feel more productive.
The main difference between the office gossiping pastime and the solitary browsing one is that there isn’t much opportunity for advertising in the break room. There is, however, plenty of that to go around on the Internet, and what better time for advertisers to reach out to us then when we’re emotionally vulnerable and in desperate need of outside stimulation?
Obviously, brands like Coca-Cola and 5 Hour Energy could easily use their caffeine properties to appeal to slumpers. But what about travel sites, airlines, hotels, and events? I’ve heard that in studies, people are happier during the anticipation period before a vacation than during the actual vacation itself. And what better time to fantasize about time spent outside the office then when you’re stuck in the office? I’m no psychiatrist, but if boredom catalyzes impulsiveness, and if it just so happens that an afternoon pick-me-up comes in the form of a direct response campaign, we might be more likely to pull the trigger on a purchase our rational, productive selves would deny us.
What about advertising things that make life easier, or more efficient, which in turn gives us the extra out-of-work downtime we crave? Maybe I see an ad for, let’s say, an induction cooktop during the slump. Then my mind is going to jump to a vision of myself exhausted, cooking dinner and wishing the water would just boil already so I can watch Dancing with the Stars. Really, any industry that stimulates the brain and ignites external pleasure for a 9 to 5er could potentially captivate this specific demographic during this specific time slot/daypart and compel them to buy the product (and a few extra minutes of free time for themselves).
The point is, if our attention spans require a little online therapy to get us through the workday, brands could benefit from the opportunity to target us digitally during the slump.
What brands, industries, or types of messaging do you think might spark purchasing or prompt a click-through for the average office worker?