June 11, 2001 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Cool. People generally complain about stuff like this but I'm pretty excited. I'm sick of having to watch ads for Metamucil...
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger (24 comments total)
That wasn't a very informative link, Tiggle.

Others say sending different TV ads to different households, particularly based upon factors such as ethnicity and income, would further divide American society. "For all its problems, television has been one of the greatest impetuses in unifying language and culture," said Robert Gnaizda, policy director at the Greenlining Institute, a San Francisco-based consumer group that battles redlining and other discriminatory practices. "If you start segmenting everyone, we may lose that."

Shocked, shocked I am, that only now are we segmenting people! And on television, no less!

This has to be the wonkiest liberal rationalization of mass-consumerism that I've ever seen. Where did they dig this guy up? Is he advocating Friends for everyone? Are Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Wayans Bros, Touched by an Angel, The Practice, and Diagnosis: Murder all examples of cultural greenlining?! Next thing you know, they'll be distributing hair straightener coupons in black neighborhoods.
posted by dhartung at 12:36 PM on June 11, 2001

But Jeff Chester, president of the Center for Digital Democracy in Washington, an organization that analyzes new information technologies, worries that addressable advertising and other interactive features will allow cable companies to amass invasive profiles on what consumers watch and what they buy, perhaps without their knowledge.

Worry about it? Count on it!
posted by briank at 12:43 PM on June 11, 2001

listen, dhartung, I watch every single one of the shows that my tv provides for me so that I can keep "in touch" with the "kids today" and stay up on the "hip urban lingo" that so many of my "homies" speak.

posted by rebeccablood at 12:43 PM on June 11, 2001

I'm going to complain about stuff like this. That link opened up not one but TWO popup windows. Blech. I did my usual apple-W slam and got rid of it all before any of the images loaded, but as a result I didn't get to read the article.

Oh well.

posted by Mars Saxman at 12:44 PM on June 11, 2001

I really hate being turned into a commodity. (or should I say, being turned even further into a commodity, if that's possible at this point in time)
posted by Ms Snit at 12:47 PM on June 11, 2001

This is barely different than the kind of banner targeting that happens on our beloved Web every day. It's the next logical step for AT&T, allowing them to narrowcast not only more ads, but better targeted ads for which they can charge more money. Customization of technology has almost always been driven by profit potential.

If anyone thought that "interactive" digital TV was going to come without massive trade-offs on the personal privacy front, they were dreaming. It's inevitable. The only question now becomes one of how much control we'll have in shaping our consumer profiles.

(I shaped my cable-consumer profile in a new and novel way last week: called AT&T and said, "disconnect me, please".)
posted by pixel at 1:07 PM on June 11, 2001

Privacy is so "old economy"
posted by preguicoso at 1:14 PM on June 11, 2001

well, here, originally from tomalak:

Scott Kirsner argues that companies aren't doing enough with the data they collect; and that by doing so both the retailer and customer would benefit.

"If I were to pass a law that would eliminate information abuse, it would be this: Companies may gather and keep only the information about their customers that enables them to deliver a better or cheaper offering."
posted by rebeccablood at 1:16 PM on June 11, 2001

I guess they'd have to show me ads for old Volvo parts and SHAG art because that's about all I've been buying recently.
posted by cheesebot at 1:25 PM on June 11, 2001

I'd get rid of every ounce of privacy if I never had to again witness the Volvo ad that features a Minutemen "Double Nickels on the Dime" song in the background. Blood curdling I say! Blood Curdling!
posted by machaus at 1:35 PM on June 11, 2001

I'm just waiting for the day some poor guy gets dragged into court because he watches a lot of "kiddie" shows, yet has no kids, or watches too many documentaries about fascism or the Aryan race, or even worse:

"Yeah, I think he could be capable of such a tragic event, he sure does watch a lot of violent programs."

And on and on and on...
posted by fluxcreative at 1:35 PM on June 11, 2001

My favorite quote from that story..

"If I told my male friends they'd never have to look at another tampon commercial, they'd say, 'Sure. Here's my information. Sign me up,' "

Amen, brother! (I wonder why they don't advertise condoms on TV)
posted by wackybrit at 2:00 PM on June 11, 2001

I don't like it because I know that they'll get my demographics wrong. Next thing I know I'll be getting sports and Wal-Mart commericals when I'd rather be watching something completely different...
posted by Pinwiz at 2:21 PM on June 11, 2001

come on, i still want to see that jaguar commercial.
commericials are more fun than the actual programming because there's variety and cconciseness and so on, i mean...... you can't put type specific subliminal memory in me, my mom says i'm special!!!! >_<
posted by elle at 2:29 PM on June 11, 2001

My conspiracy theory: turning on cookies so you can opt out of X10 ads is exactly this giving up privacy for ad-free-ness.

Machaus, is that an anti-Minutemen statement, an anti-Volvo statement, or a D.Boon-rolling-in-his-grave statement?
posted by rodii at 2:46 PM on June 11, 2001

They may not be using their data to the fullest potential, but giving up one's privacy for targeted commercials doesn't seem worth using such technology.
posted by valerie at 3:24 PM on June 11, 2001

rodii, the latter...
I expected a few of the songs to the soundtrack of my life to be used to hock things I don't need to buy, but hearing the Minutemen as a jingle for an AWD Volvo station wagon made me cry.
posted by machaus at 3:49 PM on June 11, 2001

I wonder why they don't advertise condoms on TV

I've seen a few.
posted by kindall at 4:03 PM on June 11, 2001

Condoms are advertised, mainly on cable.

The one that gets me, though, is the birth-control pill commercial, the three friends. In the space of both the 60 and 30-second versions, the narrative is careful to point out that each one of the women is married. Then they're free to compare the benefits of various birth control pill products.

Because, God forbid single women use the damned things ....
posted by dhartung at 4:58 PM on June 11, 2001

That's the one where the message is not "fear-free hanky-panky" but "birth control pills will clear up your acne"?
posted by rodii at 5:02 PM on June 11, 2001

I can't decide if this is nifty or totally and completely evil! There's no way you can deny that thousands of commercials pumped into your brain can't have SOME sort of effect.
posted by Dzolali at 5:50 PM on June 11, 2001

One good use of targeted ads: you'll be over at someone's house after a nice evening out and that herpes commercial comes on in the background...
posted by Sellersburg/Speed at 10:21 PM on June 11, 2001

Every time I read something like this I think of 1984, but then I think that it's funny whom Big Brother is turning out to be. He's not trying to politically subjugate us, but just sell us stuff. This sort of thing doesn’t sound so bad on the surface, but who knows were the technology can lead? It's the answer to that question that worries me. Am I the only one who find this a little creepy? I guess it's done a lot already on he net, is there a difference between this and targeted banner adds?

I think it would be fun to watch a wired combination of shows and see what adds are shown. If Big Brother is watching us we should at least have a little fun with him.
posted by Bag Man at 11:06 PM on June 11, 2001

rodii, that's the one. Imagine casual coffee-klatsch conversations like, "So if you're going to be taking the pill anyway, why not take the one that doctors say won't aggravate acne?"

See, they couldn't possibly run a message that people not now taking the birth control pill should consider it. Nosirree. That would offend {someone in middle America}. Only present pill takers should consider their product as one alternative.

A simple message like, Not ready to have kids? Talk to your doctor about the pill. would never fly in the flyover.

When discussions are this tulip-tip-toey about something that's been commonly available for half a century, you know our society's fucked up in a major way.
posted by dhartung at 12:29 AM on June 12, 2001

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