I don’t have any ad-related photos, so, uh, here’s something completely different.
This shouldn’t turn into a rant, but I warn you now, it could go off on tangents.
Today I was walking home from class and thinking about the advertising around. I thought back to Banksy’s brilliant sentiments regarding billboards and immediately my designer mind went down the path of how to make them better. “I know!” I thought “Why don’t we make them so they recognize you and show you things that’s you’d like.” and then I thought “Wait. That’s ridiculous. That’s what Google does already and everyone’s against it.”
But then, why?
Like, truly, erase everything you know about ads and think about this hypothetical: You’re browsing around these websites. Your Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or Reddit or whatever, your news sites and TV shows and billboards on the side of the road, they all have this box of content. What if all of that content was the best thing you could think of – not ads, but whatever you wanted. What would that look like? My initial response, personally, would for them to just be flat colours. A few white, maybe a couple 80% grey, some bright orange or green or that teal-ish blue that I love so much. So, that’d be cool. But maybe… boring? What if they could show me cool things. What if – and remember, not ads – they were just like, cool cars and adorable kittens and bits of my favorite movies. Pretty neat. Okay. But I’ve already seen those things, old hat. What if they could take all those things I love and then show me new things. That’s pretty much what I’m doing when I spend hours just cruising around looking for new things anyway. Like, what if those billboards were showing the next thing on my RSS reader, so it integrates into my lifestyle instead of purposefully sitting down to read it. For one thing, I’d crash my car into everything trying to read them, but that’s the idea – it’d be so compelling.
Okay. But what if those cool, compelling articles and things were products (really, it would be hard not to be) that you could buy.
“But Brennan, wait!” you cry out “Those would be… ads” you say, with mock horror. Exactly.
What if the ads around you were so attuned to you, so compelling and so cool that you would actually – heaven forbid – be interested in them. Crazy talk, I know.
And that’s why I’m in full support of intense targeted advertising. I want them to know what I like so they can serve me. Banksy says they own you and that’s true, but that’s spam – things that don’t apply to you. Do I as a male ever need to see lady deodorant ads? No. That’s the spam that clutters up my field of view. Would I be the poorest person in the world if every ad was a product from The Black Workshop? Yeah. I’d be tripping over myself to give them my money, because it’s exactly what I want.
So don’t say it with such disdain. The alternative is them advertising to the mass and general appeal which rarely relates to you. I’d much rather be excited and interested in the things presented.
I mean, it’s not like they’re just going to stop advertising randomly, right?
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