30 August 2013

Attention: The Monetization Thereof


Potential Ad Revenue Lost in Space

Speaking of the moon, consider the following:

One of the great trends of our age is the monetization of human attention.
Every evening, around the world, weather permitting, billions of people are gazing transfixed at the moon.
So why is there no advertising on the moon?

What would Nike pay to project a giant swoosh right across there.  (Moon: The giant orb in the sky brought to you by Nike, proud makers of footwear for the citizens of planet Earth.)

But what is proposed here is even better, not just giant ads taking over the whole moon, but specifically targeted ads precisely placed.  Your cellphone knows your GPS coordinates, with basic weather charts it can figure out when you are outside and likely to be moongazing, and can therefore calculate where to put the ad so it will catch the attention of humans standing at your exact position on Earth.

Of course, since many nights are moonless and the stars are also a subject of considerable fascination, there is no reason that ads could not easily fill the entire sky.  Imagine the big dipper as a giant ad for Campbell’s soup.  Orion the Hunter flogging sportsgear if not shields, his faithful sidekick wolfin' down a bowl of Sirius brand hound chow.

Much the same applies to our many geographical landmarks.  Residents of the areas surrounding Tokyo and Seattle spend many the hour in contemplation of Mounts (respectively) Fuji and Rainier.  Ads projected onto these majestic peaks would be worth billions (I see insurance companies, perhaps automobiles).  Some may complain how crass but if we don't do it, we are simply flushing this money down the proverbial toilet. 

Hm, what else do people stare at?  Each other.  T-shirts of course already carry advertising but let's imagine clothing with a built-in flexible display front and back and sensor technology so that it could detect when someone was looking at it, use facial recognition and/or contact the looker's device to discover their identity and web browsing history, and then project an ad tailored to that person and calculated to last as long as their relative velocities (embedded accelerometers, etc.) indicate the interaction may last.  If the wearer turns toward the target customer and gets them to view the ad longer, or better yet manages to strike up a conversation in which they casually endorse the product, they could earn a bonus or even make a small commission on all sales of that product to the gawker for the next, say, three years.  The possibilities are endless; my appetite to describe them is not.

The ad-space on every ass would not be of equal value, needless to say.  This would give people an incentive to get (their ass) in shape, since an attractive physique would now mean not only more and better mating opportunities but also increased advertising revenue. 

It wouldn't have to be all about skin and debauchery, it could even go in the opposite direction, I mean you could put a lot more ads on those full-body burkas than on a tiny pair of short shorts.  As in most things, perhaps moderation would be the best strategy, with outfits designed to reveal enough of the body's form to attract sustained attention while still offering abundant surface area to accommodate traditional modesty as well as product placements.

Of course, those who can afford to pay for a Premium Option would be spared most of these ads, so they could gaze longingly at the moon or a sexy set of buttocks for as long as they want without being interrupted by the latest sales campaign from Madison Avenue.

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