Is targeting about to miss the target?

Each day, the ad world learns how to more expertly target and re-target towards their…targets. The level of information we currently have to play with is officially mind-boggling (and it only going to get boggling-er). Honestly, I feel sorry for marketing managers and directors. Where the hell do you start and where does it end?

It’ll get to a point where brands will know when a consumer blinks, and therefore, tailor comms around the combined milliseconds an eye shut (who wants to waste precious media spend on the accumulated blinking time a person’s eyes are closed in a single day, right?).

The technology is clever. Yay. Congrats. We know everything about everyone. And so we eulogise about the ability to decipher data, then serve-up exactly what it dictates people want. Super-tailored targeting. With power like this, we should be wearing our underwear on the outside, with a cape.

I spent a childhood being subjected to horribly targeted messaging from brands I certainly wasn’t about to go out and interact with. 

Picture this: Brady Bunch. Peter gets done for playing ball in the house (classic episode). Then cue the ad break. Holy shit, a dishwashing liquid ad! Are you kidding me? I hate washing up; never bought lemon-scented concentrate in my life. Call the cops. Oh, and now a furniture ad. Yes, I sit on furniture, but I can’t afford a leather chase on this pittance they call pocket money. How dare they parade these consumer goods in front of me. Childhood marketing abuse, that’s what it is! 

Thank heavens for the chip commercial that follows. That’s better. Now we’re talking. I’m a chip consumer. I buy them. Good targeting there.

And so it went.

But if I’m honest, I never really cared that much. I don't think anyone does.

Seeing things you don’t want, well, it just adds to the fabric of who you are, doesn’t it? Would be banal if I was never exposed to the bits and bobs that didn’t suit my taste. 

Taste. Think about that word. It’s about trial. About discovery. Finding what appeals. AND importantly, what doesn’t.

I crave certain foods, but only because I’ve tasted many alternatives (olives are the Devil’s eyeballs).

Look, totally get that targeting is needed. Understand brands won’t just throw marketing money at dart boards.

But the way we're headed, with such intimate data and sniper-like targeting infiltrating our lives daily, will there come a day when people start rejecting these communication suggestions? 

Big Brother may think he’s helping, but he’s sounding and acting more like my parents.

“I know what you like, and you’ll LIKE IT, young man!”

Eventually, will instinct will kick in and have us looking for the alternative, because we’re simply not exposed to it? No one likes being told what to do, say, feel, or consume - no matter how well you know me. 

Our news is being tailored. Our music lists. Our houses and cars are becoming more intelligent. 

Fairly soon I’ll only be served and only see the things of interest to me. 

How boring.