Reach Out and Touch Someone – Can advertising get a little more intimate without being creepy?

Following from my previous dismay at having so-called targeted advertising with the personal touch of adding my surname keep calmCosta to a terrible hoodie,  I have had another very dodgy attempt at getting my attention.  This time, same jumper but my first name!  Hideous.  We have been able to get tops with our names on them since the 80’s, really is the best that can be done with our personal information?

I really don’t mean to be negative about tailored advertising because I believe there are good opportunities to build relationships with us.  The problem is these examples where advertisers don’t yet know how to touch us as individual people rather than a group demographic.

I was recently in London and soon got back into the routine of reading the metro newspaper which is free for all commuters, and one of my favourite pieces in the paper are the regular ‘Rush Hour Crush’ and ‘Good Deed Feed’.  These are pages where commuters can talk to each other to either give a ‘thank you or a channel for someone to pluck up the courage to let another commuter know they have a mega crush on them.  People write the most touching and kind things to each other and all of us commuters as a community get to share a snippet of these  personal stories.  Truly I find this an uplifting start to the day and I look forward to reading them in the knowledge that my mood will be raised. Here are just a couple of examples

 “You’re loud mouthed, dark-haired and petite.  I heard you on the phone saying you would love a rush hour crush to be about Rush Houryou.  If you would only glance up from these pages and notice me I could show you that you already have one and maybe we could get to know each other away from the constraints of the commute.  You make my heart skip every time you get on from Surbiton to Waterloo”.



And on the ‘Good Deed Feed’

“Thank you to the drivers and guards who take the time to wave to my train obsessed two-year old as you go through Earlsfield station.  You make a little boy very happy”Good Deeds



This is how people connect with people and is a perfect example of a community who use personal information in a way to touch others and build relationships from afar.  Imagine a company who could harness this type of communication with us through better understanding (provided through our personal information and behaviour).  Not only would they connect with us on intimate human level but they would be building a story that others could be part of.  Surely there is a better way than just putting my name on a piece of clothing.

Do you think this is possible?  How do you think companies can connect with us in a more intimate or human way?




5 reasons to care about your personal information – Wednesday #3

The most valuable commodity I know of is information”Gordon Gekko, Wall Street (1987)gordon-gekko-wall-street

Are we seeing the value? The 2011 World Economic Forum compared personal information to oil, the most valuable resource of the 21st Century.  What’s crazy is that this industry is evolving contrary to the economic law of commoditization.  Data is increasing in value with the increase of supply!  I just read on CNN Tech that data is now a $300 billion a year industry.  Acxiom one of the largest data broking firms recorded $1.1 billion in sales 2 years ago.

Are we missing out on more $$$$$$?  Handshake a new PIMS that is in the testing phase of brokering individuals data, estimates that someone like me could earn up to $8000 a year!  Have I got your attention now?

Federico Zannier asked this same question and set up a kick starter project to sell all of his personal data for $2 a day.  The goal was to make $500 but this was far surpassed and he actually raised $2700.

If we are talking value in terms of improved service then yes there are some good examples where my satisfaction is high because they have tailored their offering just for me.  Netflix, iTunes and Amazon are good examples here, they remember me, make my purchases easy and make recommendations from my history.  But! as for better deals or advertising, I am really not experiencing efficiencies with irrelevant promotions and advertising cluttering my digital world – I really don’t need speed dating a Hyundai or weigh loss products .  My other bugbear is the longer we have to wait in line at stores.  The number of clicks to identify the right product, personal details and other data entry points is mind numbingly annoying.  It isn’t just me is it?  is everyone experiencing longer queues in stores?



5 reasons to care about your personal information – Tuesday #2

“You have to learn the rules of the game.  And then you have to play better than anyone else”  Albert Einstein


We don’t have enough knowledge around the trade of data to make an informed decision…  Personal information is a constantly evolving notion with the conversation ever-changing, just consider the change since Snowden’s revelations around US and British Intelligence surveillance of our internet and phone usage.   We’re quick to assume Government is the only powerhouse associated with access and collecting information. Corporate organizations need to harvest and store this information as well to ensure the most insight into us – the consumer.

Read this article published by CBR, they found that 4 in 10 organisations obstruct access to our own data when customers or citizens seek access and clarification on what these organisations know about them.

The article includes and excellent summary from Professor Clive Norris,  who summarised  “We part with our personal data on a daily basis, creating vast and invisible reservoirs of actionable personal information. We do this actively and passively, and our experience of the world is reshaped in ways that we don’t appreciate. We are selectively marketed to, our locations are tracked by CCTV and automated licence plate recognition systems and our online behaviour is monitored, analysed, stored and used. The challenge for all of us is that our information is often kept from us, despite the law and despite our best efforts to access it.”

Do you agree or do you think this is paranoia?