BLOG POST #3: Modern American AdvertisingIst

13 Sep

As with most advertising, modern advertising is categorized by trends and by the evolution of technology. One of those trends we will discuss some of those trends this week is behavioral targeting.  This trend utilizes cookies on your computer to track what you click on and interact with online.  Then, advertising for products or services that are appropriate for your specific behaviors, or clicks, appears on subsequent websites.  Amazon’s shopping recommendations are an example of this type of targeting, as is Facebook’s customized ads.

A recent New York Times article discussed the next step in behavioral targeting called personalized retargeting or remarketing.  This new advertising seems a little bit more invasive and persistent.  I would like you to comment on your thoughts about remarketing.  Here are some thinking points:

  • Is this type of advertising ethical?  Why or why not?
  • Has this type of targeting happened to you?  Is so, did you like it?
  • What does this type of advertising say about the future of more traditional advertising media?  Will TV spots or print ads, for example, be able to compete?  Is targeting a mass audience ineffective?
  • When does advertising cross the privacy line?  Or, does it?

8 Responses to “BLOG POST #3: Modern American AdvertisingIst”

  1. Shelby DuBois September 14, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    In some forms, personalized retargeting is helpful, but there comes a point when it can be harmful and invasive. I get ads on Facebook all the time for bands that I “like” on Facebook and that doesn’t bother me. It’s actually pretty cool; it will tell me like, “if you like this band then try this band!” or will tell me when an upcoming concert is in my area, which is cool. On Google though, I find it annoying. Every time you search something, the links follow you around. And what if you are searching for something private like birth control, or like in the article, how the woman kept being tormented by weight loss ads. I don’t think that is okay. There is a fine line between what companies should know about you and what they don’t and also, what you don’t want flashed around in your face over and over, like that pair of shoes. I would find that very frustrating. I think that what this type of advertising means for the future of TV ads, print ads etc, is that the advertising will become even more niche and personal than it already has been in the last few decades.

  2. Jordan MacConnell September 14, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    This type of marketing is definitely showing the power of technology. Many people believe that what they do online is private, but it is called the World Wide Web for a reason. I think these advertisements are ethical. Although slightly annoying to some, there is nothing wrong with these advertisements. Every time I buy music on iTunes, the store uses my previous purchases to suggest new music. I find this extremely helpful and this aspect of the store has helped me find a lot of great new music. The same thing happens when I am on Amazon and likewise it helps me find books that I may have otherwise passed up. This type of advertising is definitely giving print advertising and other “old school” methods a run for their money. The more one can target a specific audience the more likely the success of the product. Just because one finds these types of advertisements annoying it does not mean they are crossing any sort of line.

  3. Sarah Cunningham September 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Personalized targeting or re-marketing definitely gives online advertising a competitive edge at reaching its online consumers. As “creepy” as it is perceived, companies are grabbing the attention of its consumers – if people weren’t recognizing that a pair of pants from Zappos was following them…then we would know that this form of marketing wasn’t working. But the sole fact that people are aware of this personalized targeting makes it apparent that people actually do acknowledge online advertisements. This type of marketing has happened to me in the past couple of weeks with TOMS shoes. I was researching them for my brand project and I actually looked into buying a pair. Unfortunately, they were out of my size in the color that I wanted so I left the site and decided to check back later. A week went by and I forgot about it until I was browsing the internet and saw an advertisement for TOMS shoes on the side bar – this advertisement had never come up before I had searched them. It reminded me to check back and see if the pair I wanted were back in stock. So for me, this personalized targeting was not annoying, or invasive. It was actually a helpful reminder. I think it will be interesting to see if TV can do a similar form of personalized targeting and see which commercials people fast-forward through and which ones viewers actually watch. I think this would enhance the creepiness of the concept but it would be a way for companies to get their product or services out there to target their fans/potential consumers.

  4. Thea Corona September 15, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    The subject of personalized retargeting, or remarketing does not raise any ethical questions in my mind. This type of marketing may be controversial in regards to political issues such as the Patriot Act, etc. But from a simple advertising perspective, its genius. For example, you look up something you like online to see the price, by seeing it again and again, eventually, the price will fluctuate, or a sale will arrive, and that particular person is far more likely to purchase the item. This has happened to me before on, luckily, I was looking at simple small items, but I was impressed with the corresponding items they picked out and actually purchased a few. While on the other hand I can understand when looking up something for someone else, or not for any personal gain, it would be annoying to see reoccurring ads on every site you visited. But then again, many times when we watch our favorite TV channels, we see the same commercial a few times, and that’s not pleasant either. All in all it seems as if this is the direction internet advertising is taking, sometimes it can work in your favor and you can strike a hot deal, or sometimes it could annoy you, but for now, sadly, there’s nothing you can do about it.

  5. Lisa Selnick September 15, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    It is hard to think if it is an ethical form of advertising. I think to a certain extent the type of advertising could be ethical but if it were to follow people onto other websites for weeks at a time than I would think that it would be too pervasive. This type of targeting has happened to me on sites such as and ITunes store. I actually appreciate it on those sites because it is not just one item but other items that are similar and help me find what I am looking for or really want to buy. However I would not like it if it followed me onto other sites or if it continuously tracked me for weeks. Advertisement crosses the privacy line when one feels they are being stalked by the product. It is tricky to say because it is more of one’s own opinion when it is too invasive. I believe the idea can bring many good things to advertisers but needs to be done the right way and not to a point that people avoid the website and customers are lost.

  6. Samantha Montgomery September 16, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    Obviously we all knew there is no privacy anymore, I mean you can’t even say the word “bomb” on the phone without the government being able to tap in and hear our conversations. However, I think retargeting steps over a line. When I purchase books of Amazon for school, I instantly have bio and PR book ads on the side of my facebook, my bank website and even on my Netflix account. It becomes almost so ridiculous because every site I go to, even if it is for a class or something I am not interested, instantly follows me for days. While I understand where advertisers and marketers are coming from, it is almost too much. Where is the stopping point? Where is the point in which we as a market have gone too far? If this is the new innovation of advertising what will be next? I can see, ads running across the screen during all tv shows, like a banner. I can see ads in classrooms for mass media events. I can even see ads in doctors offices for things other than medicine. With this new technology advertising, if it hasn’t already, is going to begin taking over the entire world.

  7. Nick Tsangaris September 16, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    Personally, I think this type of advertising is ingenious. It completely takes the whole principle of advertisisng, convincing people that they in fact need a product, not simply want it, and jack it up on steroids. The one way to plant in a person’s mind the idea that their life would become easier if they had a product is to constantly place the product in their life.
    In terms of whether or not it is ethical, I see no problem in what brands are doing in regards to retargeting ads. When people go on the internet, they are aware that they are leaving a trail behind them of the cites they visit. Some might see it as harassment if a person is constantly receiving advertisements they do not want, but who is to argue what is ethical or not in a business world. If we have a business mindset about things, there really are not ethics in advertising. We can try to sugar coat things, or we can get things done.

  8. Jenny Deighton September 16, 2010 at 11:30 pm #

    I feel that although remarketing can be bothersome or “creepy” in some sense, it is actually very affective. The unethical side to this type of advertising is that it invades ones privacy. Just because someone accidently clicks on something does not mean that they want it. It’s called browsing! On the other hand, by having a consistent reminder of your browsed options, the item will be planted in ones head. As far has having a personal experience with this type of advertising, I see it everyday. Facebook is constantly informing of homes or apartments to rent in Cincinnati or to go shop at certain stores. While I find it annoying sometimes, there has been times when I take interest in the advertisements and look further into them. Looking towards the future, I do think this type of advertising will become more popular. I don’t think this will replace TV or magazine ads though. The mass audience adds are what draw the customer to the initial website that then enables cookies to track them online. Eventually, I do believe a company will cross the line with these targeted add. They might become a new way to spread viruses to masses, or they might be a way to gain someone’s personal information. So in conclusion, I do believe that these adds can be affective, but they will eventually pass the privacy line.

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