More than once, I heard a strange commercial over the radio over the summer.

It was a commercial by an insurance agency, and it spoke to the listener in a very personal way, assuming many things about the listener. It talked about how “you” are in your late life and on your third wife, who’s screeching at you to increase your life insurance, saying it as if it was simple fact, as if it knew you. Obviously, this shuts out the majority of people listening in, but to those few people who the commercial describes exactly or similarly enough ( like my father’s friend, who was listening at the time ), the commercial gains a weight to it, it feels much more relevant, more truthful, and certainly more memorable because it is, in a way, talking directly to you.

There are similar, though not so extreme instances in advertising emails that use your name ( through the use of some databank ) and speak to you in a personal, casual tone. The difference between this and that is that these emails are just written with an intent to sound personal and replace a variable with people’s names, while the first example was written to tailor to an extremely specific audience, almost down to a person.

Imagine a future where, somehow, probably through email, whenever you hear or see a commercial, you see a version tailored specifically to you, with every person seeing a different version. Using knowledge they have on you and through recording your shopping habits or behaviors, the advertisement talks to you as if it really knows you, and the science behind it is so exact that it sells things to you in the way that would best work on you based on your behaviors. The “voices” of the commercials speak directly to you, using your name, talking about things that you in particular are interested in, describing their products in ways that would appeal to you specifically, while another person watching the commercial for the same product hears something completely different, tailor-fitted to sell it to that person in particular.