By Peter Murphy – Creative Director at Hunterlodge
It’s a fine line between clever and creepy and the good people at Google have realised this. As technology companies gather more and more data about us, there is a danger that they can come across as stalker-ish. Our location, search history, our friends and perceived interests are food and drink for increasingly clever algorithms to tempt us like never before. Now Google have sussed that, just like a stranger who knows what we wear in bed, it can leave us feeling violated and vulnerable.
Even my Mum, who thought retargeted programmatic banners happened by magic, now feels uncomfortable at a geo-targeted ad on her mobile that knows she is in the shopping centre.
To turn down the freakiness, Google lets you customisze or even turn off this type of ad in your account settings, but it’s a bit of a faff to do. Also, whilst you’re busy telling them the types of ads you’d like to see and the ones you don’t don’t, you are in fact helping them target you even more accurately.
Ads with flexible storylines that can be adapted to the personal information of the viewer have been around for a while. The tech was relatively simple and so they didn’t feel intrusive just thoughtful : “ aww, Barclays you sweetie, you went to the trouble of putting my name and how much I could borrow into a video.”
It was charming and relatively harmless. Now the data and the tech in front of it has combined in ways we could never have imagined, and it’s only the beginning. These advances are scary and exciting for the ad industry as well as our consumers. For client side marketers as well as agencies, these unchartered waters and the rise of AI will spell changes in job roles.
Will the algorithms of tomorrow strategise, plan media and brief the AI creative team?
If it happens you can bet that they won’t slope off for a boozy lunch or make a self-indulgent mood film.
For creative agencies, the opportunities to move on from story telling to be part of our consumers’ story making is truly amazing. Thanks to our smartphones, the brands we love are right there to help us have a better time. They have the chance to actively participate in our lives, to enhance moments and be useful when needed.
Back to my mum in the shopping centre who’s just received an e-voucher for the shop she’s stood outside, “ooh” she says, “that’s handy.”. And that’s the point.