Friday, March 02, 2007


Yesterday I found out about a new development that left me feeling quite disturbed.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not against change and development. In fact I see them as essential to being human. To exist is to develop, whether it be personally or as a society. So while I might not be the biggest fan of contemporary classical music, and I have mixed feelings on modern art, I'm philosophical enough to believe that both make important contributions to our culture and development. We would cease to exist if we weren't progressing, or changing, or growing.

So what's so disturbing about the new development I heard of yesterday? Its crassness and invasiveness. In-your-face advertising is taken to a whole new level with this little piece of technology.

It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by the sheer weight of advertisements that beam in my direction. A steady stream of junk mail, never ending breaks on television, billboards, buses, taxi boots, rolling digital posters in the shopping mall... everywhere I look I am bombarded by images enticing me to live in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction. The last time Frank and I flew to Melbourne, Virgin Blue assailed us with nonstop advertisements - the back of the seat in front had been converted into a TV screen. If you chose not to pay for cable, you were regaled with ads. If you turned them off... they reappeared thirty seconds later. I found it quite affronting.

So when I read yesterday about TABANAR (Targeted Advertising Based on Audience Natural Response) I was concerned. This new advertising concept involves the placement of a small LCD screen and camera on supermarket shelves. As you approach, an advertisement begins to role. If you look away, the system 'senses' that you are not interested and immediately switches to an advertisement from a different brand. The cycle continues until you indicate your interest in a product by looking at the screen for an extended period of time. The system then assumes you are interested and keeps playing the same ad.

I'm sure it's ingenious, I'm sure it utilises incredible technology, it might even be a boon for the advertiser... but please! Allow me some peace. Allow me the dignity of making my own choices. Have some respect!

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At 7:59 am, March 03, 2007, Blogger Lucidiocy said...


I find that extremely disturbing. I just finished reading "Radical Evolution" and found so much of it ominous. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_Evolution


At 12:42 pm, March 03, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

I wish I could block out advertising like I do certain sounds. I'm good at ignoring and blocking things out that I don't want to hear.

I just read in the Wall Street Journal that there will be even more advertising advancements by the way you search for things on the web. There will soon be advertisers monitoring what you are looking at on the internet and then related pop ups or some sort of advertisement will appear on your screen. How annoying! We have some power though, we don't have to watch, we can purposely not buy a product because it's in our face. I used to watch "24", but along with being too violent, the commercials are really long, I decided to stop watching it. I'd rather sit and read a book.


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