You don’t need an app to detect bullsh*t

“We are immune to advertising.  Just forget it.” – Cluetrain Manifesto

There it is.  The secret of the modern day consumer.  We know this is all a game that is geared to make us buy stuff and guess what?  We’re not buying it anymore.  But, we are still buying.

Recently, I’ve been looking into purchasing a Chromebook for myself, but it definitely wasn’t because of some incredible advertisement I saw.  Nope.  My coworker bought one, showed it to me, and now I’m a bit interested in getting one for myself. So, naturally, my next step is to hop on the Internet and start doing some research on the different models, pros and cons, specs, etc.

As I’m researching and poking around on different websites, I decide I want to post on Facebook about how I am searching for a good Chromebook and am open to suggestions from my network of friends.  As I start typing my post, I notice an ad in the corner for the new Toshiba Chromebook.  Coincidence?  Definitely not.

I am immune to advertising and, in fact, it turns me off to a product more than it grabs my attention.  I’ve actually stopped looking to buy a Chromebook now because my experience on Facebook made me feel so invaded, almost violated.  I was actively searching for a Chromebook, I didn’t need some sneaky, “stalkerish” advertisement algorithm reminding me of what I was interested in buying.

There are many points in the Cluetrain Manifesto that make me want to raise my smartphone in defiance to big, faceless and emotionless corporations that don’t care about their customers. I don’t view corporations as “godlike” figures.  In fact, I feel a little bit sorry for them that they are trying to convince me that seeing advertisements for an item my browser history is loaded with is pure coincidence.

“However subliminally at the moment, millions of people now online perceive companies as little more than quaint legal fictions that are actively preventing these conversations from intersecting.” – Cluetrain Manifesto

Precisely.  Let’s cut out the bullsh*t.  Stop trying to sell “my demographic” a product.  In fact, stop trying to sell me a product altogether.  If I want it, I’ll look for it.  That’s what the Internet is for.

Posted on October 19, 2014, in Digital, Marketing, Social Media, Society, Technology, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I found your post interesting for a few reasons. It is true that the saturation of advertising has left many consumers numb and desensitized to commercials and product placements. Even gimmicks which were once considered subtle (using metadata to track users across different platforms), are now expected and ignored. What I find interesting is that the way you described your purchase (i.e. word of mouth) is exactly what retailers are trying to tap into now. Organic, authentic content is what drives consumer behavior, and companies have lined up behind individuals with large audiences (for example, bloggers) to advertise through creative means. Basically, what you described: word of mouth purchase and apathy towards targeted advertisement, is a rising pattern. While you may hate to be labeled as a “demographic”…what you described places you squarely in what retailers consider the “millennial consumer” sector. It seems like as much as we all want to, we can’t escape!

  2. Michelle Mailey Noben

    I totally agree with your points in this post. I, too, consider myself to be somewhat impervious to advertising and am so turned off by online ads that appear after shopping for an item or any ads that make themselves out to be customized to me or suggested by a friend. Like jessaclara noted in her response, that word-of-mouth, “organic” approach to advertising is all the current rage, but while companies seem to get the concept that we trust our friends more than them (go figure), they don’t seem to understand that they really can’t replicate that rapport. As mentioned in the 95 Theses, there’s a corporate language and a human language and we’ve all been advertised to so long (since birth if you’re less than 60 years old) that we’re pretty well in tune to the difference. So where do advertisers go from here? Why not honesty? Facts, please. Provide me with the information I need to make a decision and I’ll take it from there. Unfortunately for business, (but fortunately for us) when consumers insist on facts and transparency, it means companies must insist on high quality, the best design, a socially and environmentally conscious practice in order to make products that ideally, will sell themselves through honesty. Isn’t that the kind of product we all want anyway?


  3. I think that we as a consumer feel more and more like you do and just want businesses and marketing teams to butt out of our searches. Do I really want someone who jumps on my computer to know that I’ve searched for baby panda pictures? Not really. There is a movement to remove cookies from search engines (see as an example), and I even heard NPR talking about a social media startup out of San Francisco where the company doesn’t store any information about the users–from passwords to pictures and everything else (I forgot what it was called, and have since searched online for it and can’t find it).

    My point is that your frustrations are shared, and we CAN do something about our privacy invasion!

  4. I can’t help but find myself nodding in agreement as I read your post. Defying the powers that be is something I love to do just on principle. When I talk to other people about targeted advertisements, I express almost the exact same emotions as you described. However, when I look in deep dark places that I don’t talk about at parties, I am pretty sure I secretly love it. When something pops up on my Facebook feed that I was looking at buying earlier, it’s like a temptress in the corner trying to lure me in. I want to do it, but I know I shouldn’t. My biggest fear and the biggest reason I don’t ever click on the ad and move towards the purchase is I am scared that I won’t ever be able to stop doing it. Its almost like a game to me and I refuse to lose, but I won’t lie, I like to play.

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