What we need are not just smart, but intelligent ads

Consumers now have more control over what, when and how they access content, giving way to on-demand and opt-in advertising models that are more targeted, contextually relevant and interactive. To reach this empowered consumer, marketers are no longer confined only on mass broadcast, but are now deploying one-to-many marketing strategies whether to serve information or entertainment. Ever-evolving technologies are redefining how advertising is sold, created and consumed. Yet, every post shared, every friend made and every link followed is tracked, recorded and converted into data which is used to show more ads. So, the general perception of advertising has still not changed. Ads are still seen as excessively intrusive, disruptive in an already cluttered marketplace and negatively labeled as ‘noise’.

consumer choice-ad
Will the right ads find you? You’re in control.

What if, there was a future advertising system which allows for consumers to select and watch/listen to an ad when they choose to, rather than having to accept the ad only when it is live? As a consumer myself, the future I want for the advertising industry is one which is brand and ad-agnostic. Intelligent ads, 100% driven by consumer choice.

For example, imagine petrol companies being able to discern when a motorist’s tank is close to empty and provide directions to the nearest station. The role of ad planners here would be to ensure a brand’s message fits neatly into the consumer’s situation and that the brand is there for them whenever and wherever they choose to reach out. The scenario I paint involves a truly open, “always on” dynamic exchange, which virtually any advertiser can reach any individual consumer across any advertising platform – as long as the advertising is relevant and appealing.

There is an untapped opportunity for this sort of direct-response, intelligent advertising – an uncharted territory even for the most sophisticated marketer(s) to comprehend, today. With new consumer monitoring technologies  entering the market such as facial and speech recognition, sensors and the Internet of Things, consumer action itself should be able to directly impact the price of an ad – driving bids up and down. Advertisers should be able to know immediately whether a spot or interactive experience is producing anticipated results. Likewise, media networks should know immediately if they have increased or decreased reach – with prices calibrating elastically. The definitions of “reach,” “effectiveness” and even “marketing” itself should change entirely.

mcmuffin-sunrise-1
McMuffin Sunrise : McDonald’s synchronised the sunrise with the appearance of their egg McMuffin.
Just as how the remote control first let viewers channel surf and now on-demand services giving consumers control of their content consumption, big changes for the ad industry too loom on the horizon. Will artificial intelligence, augmented / virtual reality or algorithms be the future of advertising? Who knows. This is still up for debate.

When self-select ad systems do become a de facto standard, consumers will be able to obtain information that he/she considers most relevant befitting their mood, needs or interests at any given time, place. It will be the day consumers seek out brands, that ads become more interesting and will receive detailed processing. It is when consumers will be more likely to remember the ads that engage them the most, having a disproportionate positive influence on them. It is extremely important that advertising, beyond all the fanfare, has to remain functional. The day consumers take full control of advertising – when ads empower, not overwhelm.

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