I admit it: at home I sometimes like watching YouTube videos when I need to take a break from grading. Not too long ago I noticed I keep getting over and over AND OVER the same Grammarly advertisement. Grammarly is a "cloud-based English-language writing-enhancement platform" (according to its Wikipedia description) positioning itself as a "writing assistant" improving proofreading but also targeting plagiarism-detection. Its business model falls within the class of freemium models, where a watered-down version is available for free and a full version is available at a fee, sometimes paid by universities for their students.
The monthly subscription rate is of $30/month, while longer subscriptions lead to smaller prices (for instance the annual subscription of $140/year is equivalent to about $12/month). Frankly, when I see the extreme prevalence of Grammarly ads on YouTube, I have to wonder how much money they have to spare to spend such egregious amounts on advertisement. When does it all become too much advertising, i.e., a signal that a company is desperate for market growth?
At least vary the ads, for heaven's sake. This is becoming almost a joke. 95% of the time I see the very same ad on YouTube. ("If you write anything, you need to get Grammarly!" says the cheerful co-ed sitting on a sofa before the first 5 seconds are up and I can skip the ad.) The other 5% of the time I see the one other ad they seem to have, which starts with a stressed-out young co-ed trying to write a paper late at night. I guess cheerful co-eds did better than stressed-out co-eds in beta testing. What a surprise.
Why don't companies realize it makes them look desperate when they inundate the market with the very same ads? It just signals they don't think the product can do well with the average amount of advertising they'd spend on other products. Frankly, they'd be better off using some of the money they spend on such intense advertising to give some students access to the full version of Grammarly and encourage them to tell their friends. When I read through some of my students' essays, it looks like quite a few SMU students don't yet know they can have access to a watered-down version for free. Maybe in the not-so-distant future, business professors will use Grammarly as one of their cases of how not to run an advertising campaign, unless the goal is to look desperate and faintly ridiculous.