Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Some thoughts on lies.

There are certain things that in the words of Henry Wiggen, really rub my goat the wrong way. Foremost among those things are lies. Especially lies in advertising.

When I was about four or five, the back cover of just about every kids' magazine was adorned with a lavish four-color illustration of a pitched battle between the American revolutionists and the snooty British "red coats."

The scene was every bit as vivid as the opening 20 minutes of Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan," or Kubrick's great "Paths of Glory." You were "in" the battle. You could smell the gun powder, feel the drama, hear the whiz of musket balls.

The ad told me that for just $1.99, or something like that, I would get 200 lifelike British and colonial soldiers. Then, I could create my own battles.

Somehow I prevailed upon my mother to order these soldiers for me. I eagerly checked the mail every day, waiting breathlessly for them to arrive.

Finally they did.

200 flimsy pieces of red and blue plastic pressed men. They looked nothing like the ad.

I was crushed. And maybe that small incident explains why I hate liars so much. If you can't deliver what you promise, some ring of hell is reserved for you.

Right now I am sitting in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, online thanks to Boingo.

I almost always want to kill when I'm in an airport. And today my homicidal tendencies are even more pronounced. They confiscated my aftershave.

But what really got me was logging onto Boingo, where they put an ad and then a button that says "Skip this Welcome Screen."

It occurs to me that perhaps the reason web advertising is so utterly and completely "click-free" is that so much of the web was built on lies like "welcome screens." Or ads that promised ways to lose 30 pounds in 30 minutes. Or that you won seventeen billion Nigerian dollars.

I don't know how a medium can establish trust when it's overrun by liars.

But if I were at Cannes, that's what I'd be talking about.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Spot on. It's really hard to trust what's the real thing online. Especially as phishers copy the look of real sites to hook you. The only way to fix it is to have passwords for just about everything you trust.
Passwords however is easy to track. So some sort of bio id will be needed. If not the web, the internet, as we know it today will go away. It has too. It's filled with criminals and thieves and snake oil salesmen. Most of the info available is not correct. Search is actually a joke of sorts whatever we've been lead to believe. The ads that I see in the margin of sites I visit has nothing to do with what I might be interested in. They don't even seem to reflect the sort of stuff I look for online. Okay, so I'm in advertising, so i might look for stuff that is related to work I do. But not even that explains the ads on my pages. I tend to think micro targeting, aside from being sort of a day too late mostly,
is actually a bluff to sorts too.