Hyper Targeted Advertising in a Spike Jonze World
Recently, I had a chance to see Her, the Spike Jonze-directed film about a man who falls in love with a human-like operating system. It is a wonderful film, and certainly is deserving of its place as an Academy Award-nominated film this awards season.
However, plot details aside, watching the film led me to think about about marketing and advertising in a new way, and to consider whether the current landscape push towards trends such as personalization and geolocation is actually a good thing. How do we address hyper targeted advertising in a Spike Jonze world – of sorts.
These days, companies are striving to give us each personalized experiences on our cell phones, tablets and laptop computers. Every day, more and more services spring up, trying to give you insights into the world around you. Many of these businesses purport to clear the noise by offering personalized recommendations as to where to eat breakfast, or which gym to join. But, often times all they do is cause more clutter.
The question that one might ask is, “Is hyper targeted advertising actually bad for us?” In the movie, it’s not clear – there are both plusses and minuses to such a hyper specific system that clearly understands the users thoughts, feelings and emotions. But, alas, that’s just a movie, written, shot and performed in a such a way as to help explore our deepest sense of what it means to be human. In the real world, it seems that the answers are much clearer.
For example, society hasn’t yet reached a place where artificial intelligence is a reality — just ask anyone from our Florida advertising agency who’s ever tried to get an answer from Siri and has been repeatedly given incorrect results, sometimes to the point of absurdity. We’re a long way from living in a world where machines can fulfill our deepest emotional needs. Rather, it is the content therein that often fulfills us.
For example, reading your favorite blog encourages you to be more proactive about your health or your career. When you’re bored, services like Meetup and Eventbrite can inspire a person to take action, to partake in the events going on in the world around them.[quote]Even looking at pictures of food on a friend’s Instagram account can inspire a feeling of positivity and comfort.[/quote]
In a lot of ways, the hyper-targeting based on our personal wants and needs seems to be helping us fulfill those internal desires to connect with others. And, with the added convenience of being able to do these things on the fly, one can make a strong argument that our constant connectivity brings us closer together. Of course, that’s sometimes harder to believe when an acquaintance spends a full five minutes browsing the internet while you’re out to dinner together.
Still, it seems to me and the team at our Orlando ad agency that being able to receive personalized recommendations based on your location, age, gender, preferences and a host of other factors seems to be the best way to receive and digest information. Until we reach the day where artificial intelligence can seriously impede our need to communicate socially as human beings, then I believe we can live in a world where our connectedness can continue to bring us closer together.
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