I am being followed around the internet by a pair of yellow adidas trainers.

It all started when I checked them out on the adidas website; they are now convinced that I am interested in them, and are basically stalking me.

This theme has upset John Hegarty.

He participated in a "Wired Global Conversation" panel last week, and revealed a contrarian view on big data, nicely written up here.

"I'm not sure I want people to know who I am," said John. "I find that slightly Orwellian and I object to it... I think there'll be a huge backlash."

I don't really agree with him on this. I mean, if there has to be an ad on the webpage I am reading, it might as well be for something I'm interested in.

But John then broadens his theme. He sees targeted web ads as being just part of a bigger problem - marketers' obsession with 'understanding' the consumer. And that's when he drops the F-bomb:

"To those brands that say 'I understand you' I say 'Fuck off, you don't understand me. Mind your own business, I don't want to be understood by you. I don't understand myself sometimes… and it can be fun.'" 

I guess his point is similar to the old Henry Ford one - "If I'd asked the customer what he wanted, he would have said 'a faster horse.'"

But John is being cheeky really. He knows full well the importance of understanding the consumer - is in fact a master of it - and you can see that in his work, which is always based on sound logic.

John's just trying to remind us that while we always start with logic, the job of advertising is to turn it into magic.

By the way, what do you think of the shoes? They're starting to grow on me.

 

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