The year is 2050 and we live in a world far more technologically advanced than the likes of today. As humans in this society, we lead incredibly digitally infused*** lifestyles where we find ourselves connected to the internet 24/7. The internet has become a basic human right. You, a 26 year old male finance manager wake up in the morning to check your 8g smartphone that gives you the weather updates, your daily meeting schedule and as you scroll through your social feed and daily news you’re struck with countless advertisements. Some of these ads show new suits at discount prices, specials for restaurants in your area and maybe even tickets to go see that band you love. As you go about your morning routine, the fridge reminds you you’re running low on soy milk and short cut bacon, prompting an automated re-purchase while at the same time the pantry asks whether you’d like to try a new flavour of your favourite cereal brand before you head off for the day.
Is this a hopeful future of marketing and advertising?
…. or are we headed into a brave new world. As our lives continue to be reshaped by the impact of big data, personalisation and the internet of things, marketers and advertisers fumble in the effort to understand the demands of the consumer, their path to purchase and ways to stay at the forefront of the consumers mind.
There are many ethical issues that arise with this use of technology which is still very much the unknown but it does beg us to ask some questions. Will brands slowly begin to dictate our lifestyles, choices and preferences by taking away our exposure to the marketplace. Instead we could have corporations deciding what we want before we even know we want it, whether it’s clothes, food or holidays. This type or marketing could also inadvertently create stronger divisions in our society if products and services are targeted to classes, gender and race. If you don’t earn enough money you might not get the ad for that european luxury car and this may well see the downfall of the aspirational class.
It’s easy to be startled by a future that looks like this but it also offers up a great deal of advantages as companies slowly learn our habits and preferences from the digital lifestyles we lead. You’ll be retargeted or even pretargeted with the products you like and may never have to be bothered by the brands you hate. As a man you may never have to be exposed to an ad for tampons again and that doesn’t sound too bad to me.
Whether this use of technology will be good or bad for society one thing is for sure, the future of memes is bright.