On my Instagram feed, I see a lot of targeted ads for Korean face masks and other anti-ageing skincare products—and I’ll admit, I regularly shop for both.
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On the first Sunday of February, the world's biggest brands duke it out on television's biggest advertising stage - otherwise known as the Super Bowl. Each company has just 30 seconds to grab the public's attention and stand out from the crowd, resulting in some truly jaw-dropping commercials. No concept is too big. No bikini is too small. No celebrity is too expensive.
Here are 25 Super Bowl ads that live on in our minds like horrible, beautiful dreams.
In this week’s tech-advice column at Lifehacker, I’m tackling the internet’s greatest annoyance. Not screaming YouTube influencers or people who are better than you at Fortnite—I’m talking about targeted ads.
Personalised ads — they aren’t just on your screens anymore. For the past few years, advertisers have been experimenting with ways to apply all that data they have about you to billboards and other IRL advertisements. Think about how creepy it is when Facebook knows too much about you.
Now imagine how it would feel if a giant flat-screen at the mall showed you that same information in giant text that other people probably aren’t looking at, but definitely could read if it caught their eye.
Cast your eyes on this promotional image for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. They look lovely, don't they? If you haven't been keeping abreast of iPhone news, you would be forgiven for thinking these phones boast full-screen, bezel-free displays.
In reality, both models come equipped with an obtrusive notch. This can only mean one of two things: either Apple is ashamed of the notch, or it is deliberately trying to mislead consumers.
Internet ads are so invasive that we can’t blame you for thinking that Facebook is listening to you talk. It’s probably not, but it is helping ad networks track you across the internet and across your apps. Tech public policy expert Chris Yiu recently tweeted 14 different ways that ads follow you around the internet, even when you’re logged out, in incognito, using a different browser, or on a new device.
A little while ago, Facebook banned ads from cryptocurrency ICOs (initial coin offerings) and has clamped down on other finance-related advertisers. But it seems that all advertisers could be under greater scrutiny. A new global policy, which is now being rolled out, will use customer feedback to provide guidance to advertisers to let them know of problems. But, if the problems persist and aren't actioned, then Facebook could ban the advertiser completely.
Maybe you bought a baby shower gift off an online registry. Or maybe you googled "ovulation calculator". Or maybe a bunch of your friends have infants and you liked one of their posts. Whatever the reason, your Facebook feed is now flooded with ads for pregnancy and baby products, and it is the worst.
It has happened to all of us. You visit a retail website to check out some product (like a pair of shoes or a new video game) and before you know it that same product is following you everywhere you go online, tempting you to buy it. Thankfully, there's a "trick" to make those ads a little less annoying.
When the iconic US snack brand Cracker Jack decided to replace its "prize" with a QR code, it felt ominous. Instead of finding a tiny baseball card or a temporary tattoo, kids are now directed to a mobile game, which lets them share a baseball-themed picture of themselves with the Cracker Jack logo with their friends on social media. R.I.P, all that is pure. Will it ever be possible to shield kids from being tracked, analysed and bombarded with advertising - and used as advertising - if we can't do so with a classic snack?
Over the last few months, the ACCC has been telling RSPs to ensure that their ads accurately represent what sorts of speeds customers can realistically expect from their NBN connection. But this isn't a new problem - anyone with an ADSL connection knows it's a game of roulette guessing what sorts of networks speeds to you'll get depending on proximity to an exchange, the quality of the copper and time of day. However, the ACCC has put RSPs on notice, telling them that misleading ads will see them come down hard.
In the days before Google, a tiny, cryptic ad in the back of a magazine had a lot of potential. The seller might not be able to fully describe their product, but if the product wasn't very good, that may be a plus for them. Here are some bait-and-switch ads from the 1950s and beyond, and what you'd get if you sent in for them.