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The menace of targetted advertising

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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…

Bonus link: Political Blogs’ Double Whammy: Post-Election, Deep Recession

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3 Responses to “The menace of targetted advertising”

  1. Dave Walker
    on Apr 4th, 2009
    @ 18:17 pm

    This is an interesting observation, in that my preferred brands for specific things, don’t actually explicitly advertise their capabilities in producing such things.

    In a Mine! manner, what I didn’t discover by experimentation and experience, I discovered from recommendation by people I trust to have good taste in such things.

    * if I need a new laptop, it’s the latest fully-loaded MacBook Pro, no questions asked. Apple don’t advertise these, widely.

    * if I need a new calculator, it’s the latest top of the line HP, no questions asked; fortunately, my 48SX is still going strong and entirely sufficient for my needs. HP just doesn’t advertise their scientific calculator line.

    * if I need new audio equipment, it’s Meridian, no questions asked. Again, it’s not down to ads (they don’t advertise), just reviews – and some personal experience.

    * if I need new clothes, I have a relatively newly-developed habit of hitting Men’s Wearhouse in California (a hint to fellow gents; if you don’t want to go so far as spending large amounts of money in Jermyn Street, American shirts are sized by collar, sleeve and chest, and thus, fit!)

    * if I need a new car – sorry, that’s an academic question, as while I might need a new runabout every decade or so, I’m never letting go of my DB7 Vantage. James Bond never drove one, being in BMW Hell at the time they were made, and AFAIK they were never advertised; they “just” had a few favourable reviews and looked and sounded and drove like… (sorry, I just ran out of superlatives 8-) )

  2. Blogging .101 | Kuba Seniorita Blog and links
    on Apr 5th, 2009
    @ 22:35 pm

    [...] advertising is visual spam”. Which resonates with me totally, of course. She links to her own post on the subject, which sources this post by Brian [...]

  3. Freeman Meshew
    on Oct 16th, 2012
    @ 8:36 am

    Your IP deal with is your on-line identity and could be used by hackers to break into your computer, steal personal information, or commit other crimes towards you.

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