Advertising – another nail in its coffin

Written by on December 21, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

advertisingAs if the trials and tribulations of the advertising world were not tough enough, now they must face a new and real threat. The days of the Mad Men of Madison Avenue are a black and white memory that makes us smile. Long lunches and lazy presentations are long gone. Even the cushy broadcast deals now seem like a receding dream.

Now they must target adverts to an individual level. Long have we discussed that ‘impulsive moment’ when you receive an offer just at the moment when you think ‘wouldn’t it be nice if I could….’ and there it is. Brands and advertisers alike believe that they can deliver this level of personalisation.

But the truth is that they cannot.

The potential is there, the data is there, but they cannot deliver. Campaigns by operators, for instance, cannot be targeted to segments of less than thousands. The most sophisticated believes a targeted campaign of a few people is possible.

Now, the rules have changed again.

The new data protection laws (which, admittedly will now trundle through a minefield of implementation processes) will scupper any attempt at personalisation.

This is because the new Directive encompasses all personal data and forbids its use. For clarity, according to a memo from the EU, “personal data is any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer IP address.”

That thudding sound is the sound of the last nail being driven into the coffin. Personalised advertising is forbidden. It is an ex-advertising world.

Add this – last – nail, to the other nails that have been banged into the coffin over the last couple of years and you have been witness to the emasculation and demise of an entire industry.

The only good news is that very few people want advertising anyway. The advertising wars were already bloody enough, with the number of downloads of ad blocking software reaching into the hundreds of millions.

Now, the Regulator has effectively nuked an entire industry, and the only people who will miss it will be those who worked in it.

And, of course, any company whose entire business model depends on advertising. It would be, you would think, foolhardy to predict that Facebook, Instagram, Google and others will be in trouble this time next year. But they will be, if they do not rethink an awful lot of stuff.

No wonder that Facebook is betting the farm on Messenger.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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