5 + 8
An advertising, branding and creative strategy agency in Houston, Texas

Words + Internet

This is an ad.

You're probably aware that marketing and advertising is changing. It happened quite suddenly with the arrival of targeted ads, retargeting and sponsored content. The genius creators of South Park devoted an episode entitled Truth and Advertising to this new wave of ads that are generally regarded by most people as just plain creepy. Ads were once something you could spot as easily as a sign, because billboards are literally signs. With the surfeit of data that Google and others have on us, it is increasingly difficult to know what is an ad and what is not. Um...bro?

People don't hate advertising as much as they hate how ads disrupt their lives. Commercials delay their programs, pop ups block their browsing, and sponsored content often tricks them and leaves them feeling manipulated. However, ads aren't going anywhere. Remember how TiVO was going to be the end of commercials? How many of you use an ad blocker on your browser? Alas, they still exist. I can't say it any better than South Park;

But the ads adapted. They became smarter. They disguised themselves as news. All around the world, people read news stories, completely unaware they were reading ads. And now, the ads have taken the next step in their evolution. They have taken human form. Ads are among us, they could be your friend, your gardener...

Last week, I realized my favorite follow (@fjerry) on Instagram was pushing Burger King. What a sell out, right? He earned my trust with his funny posts and now he was tricking me in to eating Jalapeño Chicken Fries™! Well, it turns out they have been posting on behalf of Burger King since 2014. How else are these guy supposed to make any money? That's America, and that's ok. People don't need Jalapeño Chicken Fries™, but people do need money.

So, what's my point? I don't really know. I think it's just that ads are not going anywhere, and we have to be aware that just about everything we consume has an agenda. Keep in mind that not all agendas are equal, and we must consider the source. If you believe in the author of the content, then I think it is ok if they are being paid to generate that content. Otherwise, they'll have to stop writing content and get a real job, and then they'll be nothing for you to read while you avoid work at your real job.

But, don't trust me, this whole post is an ad for Umbros, anyway.

5+8Adam Faust1 Comment