Ads get everywhere these days: from takeaway food lids to supermarket
floors via cows in fields outside Milton Keynes. It can all prove a bit
much at times.
The only place you can escape from this cacophony of commercial messages
is your own sweet home. Shut the door behind you, leap over the mountain
of direct mailshots in your porch, keep the TV off and the newspapers and
magazines shut, switch on your computer and dive into a haven of ad-free
make believe. As long as you stay clear of the world wide web, and only
open E-mail from personal friends, you’ll be safe. Won’t you?
Not necessarily. Push technology, the system that allows pioneering
companies such as Pointcast to deliver news to your desktop, is the
preserve of the advertiser, too. And, with Microsoft incorporating push
into its new browser, Internet Explorer 4 - which will, itself, be built
into the next version of Windows - everyone who buys a new PC will soon be
in the firing line. The PC desktop, it seems, is destined to become a
formidable advertising medium.
But it will also be a medium upon which advertisers must tread
Many internet users already find ads on the web intrusive. So is using
this latest innovation not the ultimate risk strategy from an advertiser’s
point of view? Is it not, potentially, the final insult to the end
Not really. Just as you can watch BBC1 or BBC2 if you don’t want ads on
your TV, you have to ”subscribe” to these push channels before you are
bombarded with their wares. In theory, therefore, the information you
receive - from new record release dates to make-up tips - will be
relevant, even useful. And if it isn’t, you just stop subscribing.
For marketers, there’s the rub. What might sound like a dream targeting
device is only that if the targetee, as it were, is genuinely engaged by
the content with which they are targeted. Otherwise, it’ll just feel like
what it is - an ad. And we all know we don’t want ads on our personal
John Owen is the editor of Campaign Interactive.
This article was first published on revolutionmagazine.com