My friend Brian has a marvellous rant about advertising, with a respectful nod towards my anti-advertising rants that he has had to listen to for years now.
And if it [an advert] is targetted at me, then to hell with it. If someone is only saying this to me, then I’m almost certainly not interested. What I want to know about is what someone rich thinks it worth his while to say to everybody. It is exactly the untargetted nature of old-fashioned adverts, Real Adverts in Real Advert Space, that makes them so useful and amusing to me. Untargetted adverts are Real Adverts. Targetted adverts are visual spam.
An interesting perspected on tragetted or behavioural advertising based on the assumption that Real Adverts, as Brian calls offline advertising, worked because it implied that a) many people may think this is worthwhile to buy and b) someone had enough money to pay for the ads.
He also makes a very important distinction that I haven’t seen elsewhere about the offline advertising happening in a public space whereas the internet and especially one’s web surfing is de facto (if not de jure, as it were) a private space.
Advertising still works, in Real Advert Space, in such places as the Underground or Trafalgar Square or an airport or beside the motorway – in the sense, as I say, that it does not induce active hostility. But the internet is not a “public space”. It is my personal space, or something, or I don’t quite know what. Whatever it is exactly, the internet is certainly not a giant collection of Undergrounds and Trafalgar Squares. What works on the internet is someone talking to me, or writing talkatively for me, in a manner that I can easily switch off and can choose to go on listening to.
There is no doubt what Brian thinks about ‘targetted’ advertising.
What absolutely does not work is some hired twat dripping with insincerity, whom I know nothing about except this, standing right next to me and the person who is now talking with me so amusingly, and shouting into my ear – because the hired twat has “targetted” me.
That’s what Adblock Plus is for…