Agency Network: 
February 2010
Carton Donofrio Partners:  Stop the Adness
Carton Donofrio Partners Digital Ad -  Stop the Adness


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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, 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.

“ 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.”

Digital advertisement created by Carton Donofrio Partners, United States for Carton Donofrio Partners, within the category: Agency Self-Promo.

Advertising Agency: Carton Donofrio Partners, Baltimore, USA
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Hibon's picture

Looks interesting... but this is one more agency that wants to tell us how great they are. The best self-promotion is the work you do to your clients every day, if it's good your clients will promote your agency for free.

Activity Score 3666

Simple ideas are the best !

Hibon's picture

Looks interesting... but this is one more agency that wants to tell us how great they are. The best self-promotion is the work you do to your clients every day, if it's good your clients will promote your agency for free.

Activity Score 3666

Simple ideas are the best !

davitsmif's picture

Greetings Hibon:

I'll be the first to admit that getting positive press through StopTheAdness doesn't suck. (Check out But self-promotion was never the primary objective behind launching STA. The movement was inspired by a global study our sister company, Context Based Research Group, recently conducted with the Associated Press. To paraphrase the research, their findings conclude the Social Contract between advertisers, the media, agencies and consumers is broken. In a mad rush to make up for the eyeballs we're losing in traditional media, we've created a never-ending stream of on and offline tactics and media channels to reach more and more people in new and surprising ways through Twitter, Facebook and mobile apps, news blogs, pop-ups, guerilla, e-blasts, advertorials and ambient media. Right now, it’s estimated we’re bombarding consumers with over 5,000 ads a day and it’s getting worse. We’re hitting consumers with ads anywhere and everywhere just because we can. Problem is, consumers have become overwhelmed with information and now they’re doing everything humanly possible to avoid our ads. The way they see it, we’re invading and polluting their personal spaces with messages they neither want nor need. We call this insanity “adness”.

In one fell swoop, we've managed to alienate the very people we're trying to persuade while undermining a mutually beneficial relationship that's been around for hundreds of years. The implication for all of us in the ad industry is pretty dire. If we don't repair the Social Contract, advertising will become even less effective than it is right now.

The good news is, the study also suggests the ills of advertising can be cured – but it’s not going to be easy. Based on their findings and recommendations, we launched It’s an online lab of sorts where consumers, agencies, advertisers and the media can find out what they really want from each other and ultimately, repair the Social Contract. As part of the effort, we’ve created a nine-point pledge to consumers that comes directly from the study our anthropologists conducted with the Associated Press. We’re asking anyone and everyone in the ad industry to sign it. By doing so, they promise to stop the adness by making their advertising more respectful, meaningful and rewarding to consumers. Each quarter, we’ll analyze all the feedback we get on and distribute a report to anyone who signs up for it with specific recommendations and insights on how to make advertising better.

In a recent poll*, advertising professionals were ranked as the second least trustworthy professionals – only politicians ranked lower. Through, we’re determined to repair this trust by transforming advertising from something consumers avoid into something they actually seek out and welcome. We know it’s an ambitious mission for anyone, much less a little agency in Baltimore. Then again, if we don’t do something to stop the adness, who will?

Won't you join us and sign the pledge?

Activity Score 3
Creative Director at Carton Donofrio Partners
pepsiice's picture

I think all advertising agencies should be aware of this

Activity Score 251
Graphic Designer
clayology com's picture

I always admire modesty in everything..shouting brands..too much of oomph..turns me off!! similarly..this agency is shouting bout itself..!!but any which ways..good one!!

clayology com
Activity Score 223
Producer/Director at India |

Ads u create needs Attention!!

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