Modern life is becoming more and more saturated by brands as the digital world begins to spill over into the real world. The shared platform of irrelevant ads passing you by is becoming a thing of the past. Soon, the only adverts you will see will be the adverts that technology has decided that you will be interested in, and technology is pretty wise these days.
Even today our lives are inundated with advertisements. They are all around us, but what exactly do we take from them? In general, our idea of a brand consists of not much more than a slogan coupled with a general concept of the company and their product. Additionally, we know whether or not we like a certain company and if we agree with what they stand for. Apart from this, we remain mostly apathetic and purposively unaware of the companies that we have no cause to interact with. That I think is the extent to which we as individuals know and interact with brands.
Now new and improving technologies are enhancing this relationship between consumer and brand. The developments are allowing companies to get to know us as individuals, our likes, our tendencies, and as a result new innovative, exciting platforms of advertising are starting to blossom and refine the shopping experience.
The upsurge in Smartphone usage for making payments and everyday browsing has allowed the world of brands to evolve into something that 10 years ago would have sounded absurd.
Person A: “In ten years companies will soon be able to advertise efficiently and effectively and remarkably specifically to each individual”
Person B: “That sounds absurd”
Today the simple act of being online on our hand- held devices results in us tacitly signing over our privacy to this online world. Our Smartphone devices leave behind a trail of our doings, they show where we’ve been, what we like and they document our habits. In addition, new technology such as Kinect-2 is beginning to personalise TV advertising which together will form a collective wealth of personalised data. Companies will then be able to utilise this information in order to get to know each of us in more depth leading to a Minority Report style future. Such a holistic advertisement space sculpted around each individual will blur the boundaries between the online and offline worlds. Digital hoardings will be able to recognise whether you are male or female, they will understand your online dispositions, then simply advertise accordingly as you pass before adjusting for the person walking behind you.
The prospect then seems vaguely totalitarian. It may seem beneficial to the individual, but at what cost to society? Our privacy, and to an extent our individuality, are completely revoked and it seems as though we did not get a say in the matter. Whatever this future will be, it’s not quite what we signed up for when we joined Facebook or popped on the wifi. So although life may be easier with our dispositions and tendencies preceding us, something still seems amiss. It just doesn’t seem okay for them (whoever they are) to know so much about us simply for their own monetary ends.
So as technology develops and the online and in-store worlds amalgamate I wonder how we will adapt to this coming future; will we feel vulnerable in a world where we are bombarded with tailored ads, or will we accept this made to fit world as a welcome intrusion? For now I’m not too sure, but I guess we’ll soon find out.