Advertising has always been a pain, one that consistently barges its way into everyday life. In real life, ads can be anything from a poster in a bus stop to a massive exploding Sonic the Hedgehog float at a Macy’s Day parade. As an online platform owned by a media company, we are not free from ads — we are well aware. However, ad companies — especially ones outside of the internet — are getting more egregious than ever before.
The horrendous evolution of ad companies
As the internet’s popularity became commonplace at the end of the 2000s, ad companies started taking a huge interest in websites. While hundreds of banner and pop-up ads were frequent from scam companies, they soon became replaced with Coca Cola, video games or clothing brands, depending on who the ad deliverer a website partnered with was paid to host.
Current day ads are annoying. Banners take up most of a website and auto-playing video ads are annoying, especially when they bug out and play audio several times over themselves. However, it’s the internet, you can turn off your audio, zoom in so you don’t have to look at them, turn on AdBlock. Ads are annoying, but they’re not that annoying.
On the other hand, real-life ads are annoying and unavoidable. Personally, I quite like a bus stop ad or a billboard here or there; I don’t know why, I just do. Maybe it’s because, being born in the 90s, I’ve never known different, but now ad companies are getting egregious. More egregious than usual.
In recent years, ad companies have decided to look into new technology. For example, take Intel’s advertising drones, an in-development system of hive devices that can display video ads — with audio — in the sky at festivals. Furthermore, they can follow individuals and shift direction to make sure that the maximum number of people are experiencing an advertisement. Furthermore, returning movie company MoviePass will actively track viewers eyeballs to make sure ads are watched. It’s all about retention.
Additionally, one startup has partnered with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to pollute space with advertising billboards, something we hope space debris rips to shreds. With space hotels, space movie studios and space trips becoming the next venture for the mega rich, they’ll be subject to ads. Of course, we will also get to see them via online livestreams, because they think we want to watch an ad in space via our computer.
These are just ideas in the works, with the drone idea being far closer to reality. However, advertising houses are already becoming more shameless in how they deliver ads to the public. One viral video shared on Reddit shows a nice, relaxing day at the beach, the crowd taking in the look of the sea. That tranquility is immediately interrupted by a barge with a huge LCD advertising Dunkin and the terrible Amazon movie The Tomorrow War.
This isn’t the only example of dickish advertising shared on Reddit. One video shows a Father’s Day gift that was purchased playing an audio ad for an extended warranty after being opened. Whenever the box is opened, a small speaker plays the advert, letting your rage build up before you rip it to pieces.
Wait until they get to augmented reality
Of course, as well as getting more ridiculous within the real world, ad companies are salivating at the opportunity that tech companies will soon give them. In fact, they’re already starting. With virtual reality, Oculus — now Meta Reality Labs — introduced adverts into paid games before quickly removing them after heavy backlash. But with certain plans for The Metaverse, advertising will not be able to be stopped.
Within Meta’s Metaverse, billboards and virtual ads will be frequent. While the beta platform is ad free right now, Meta — aka Facebook — has built its entire livelihood off ad revenue, and it isn’t stopping. Couple that with tech that can monitor your watch time, heart rate and attention to ads in the environment, and Meta can (and will) match the perfect ads to each user, making companies pay them even more.
On top of virtual reality, there’s the approaching realisation of augmented reality, next-gen tech that could actually be useful. AR glasses can be perfect for apps like Google Maps, or translating foreign text and audio for better understanding; Pokémon Go could be even cooler. But it’s also technology that is perfectly built for ads.
Meta is already planning to push advertisements in augmented reality with their in-development AR glasses. Plans include anything from replacing billboards with videos paired with algorithms designed to push the perfect ad every time to just playing ads in your peripheral. There’s no limit to what can be done, and some company is absolutely going to try it.
At least one good thing is being done with ads
Despite the doom and gloom of dystopian ads ruining even more of everyday life, there are good things being done with advertisements. Well, at least one good thing. In America, free beverage company FreeWater is using the prominence of advertising to provide a public service.
With advertising on the bottles paying for the production of FreeWater, the beverage can be given out for free in order to help people stay hydrated. For poor families, this is a great way of staying hydrated in a world which is only getting warmer. However, this could all end up being a scam at some point; that’s how much people don’t trust ads.
Ads keep this website operated, they keep online content creators going, but the way in which adverts keep attempting to get more egregious with every generation is becoming ever-more disgusting. No, I don’t want a drone to follow me with an advert; that’s harassment. No, I don’t want to see an advert for a crap Amazon movie at the beach; I’ve somehow afforded a vacation. Ad houses need to back off, or someone needs to make them.