November 26, 2007 MediaStruction

Addressable Advertising

The breakfast conversation between my 6 and 9 year olds this morning went something like this:

“Stop touching my food.”
“Stop touching my food.”
“Stop copying me”
“Stop copying me.”
“OK, I’m a dung beetle.”
“OK, you’re a dung beetle.”

In an exercise of patient parenting, I went to my happy place, which led me to think about imitation and personal space invasion and what about those do we humans find offensive on a primal level.

Which, of course, led me to think about media.

We read quite often these days that mass media is no longer, replaced by one-to-one. Technology is moving at a clip to allow this. If, for example, you haven’t been reading about Google’s purchase of DoubleClick, you should. Or IBM’s “The End of Advertising As We Know It,” where Saul Berman says the next 5 years will hold more change for the advertising industry than the previous 50 did.

Not only are internet portals able to use algorithms to serve ad content you find relevant, but there are new companies developing technology to track and aggregate your web travel information in order to serve relevant ads to you from across the entire web. So your research on Google might predicate an ad served to you on Yahoo.

Imagine the possibilities when terrestrial radio and broadcast television become web integrated.

I can only imagine what type of ads I’ll be served after my college-aged son has visited my computer and Internet Protocol TV. That should be a good You Tube video. I mean, watching my head explode.

But I digress.

From a marketer’s perspective, this addressability is a dream. But what about from the consumer’s point of view?

Is this new world convenient or invasive?

Personally, from my perspective as a consumer, I like it. Let’s face it, a good reason to Tivo programming is to skip through the ads. What if all the advertising was stuff you were interested in? Assuming technology can determine which user – me or my son, for example – is in use of the device…wouldn’t it be cool for him to receive ads for fishing gear and me for organic groceries?

Or is it an invasion of privacy – in this day and age of warrantless surveillance and secret detentions.

I invite you to join in the debate. And, if you dare, I’ll post your response.

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