Can anonymous advertising be useful to unique users?

This month saw breaking news from the world of advertising:

Six trade groups – the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the 4A’s and two others – say they’re “deeply concerned” with Apple’s plans to release a version of the internet browser that overrides and replaces user cookie preferences with a set of Apple-controlled standards.
The feature, which is called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention,” limits how advertisers and websites can track users across the internet by putting in place a 24-hour limit on ad retargeting.

Their deep concern comes from fearing that today’s revenue models in online advertising may not have a bright future.

It’s an assessment many share – those who pay for advertising, those who make their living, and those who are deeply annoyed by it.

The reality is that the use of ad blockers has been rising for years, and is not going to stop. In what is a clear signal of consumer preference, Apple is only consequently following what their market (consumers) tells them. Advertisers‘ market however is publishers and brand marketers, and they all don’t care as much about how the consumer might feel about online advertising.

On this matter, I recommend watching this video:


Apple responds to advertisers (but not targeted)

Two weeks after the ad industry’s open letter was sent, Apple published a new website about privacy , highlighting how the company felt about the topic.

Whether you’re taking a photo, asking Siri a question, or getting directions, you can do it knowing that Apple doesn’t gather your personal information to sell to advertisers or other organizations.

For a number of years, Tim Cook has been building his human rights thinking into a strategic advantage in the marketplace, giving his products a unique selling point – no other product line is a secure as Apple‘s, and customers know that the company doesn’t need their data in order for their business model to work. Unlike Google, Amazon or Facebook.

And now, this attitude is coming to over 800 million iOS devices across the globe. A scale that gives Apple great power. And one that gives advertisers anxiety.


My advertising agency (sic!) has been thinking about this dilemma in online advertising since late 2014. We came to the conclusion that it can’t go on like it was before. Advertising needs to change.

Advertising needs to become useful.

Obviously, not all advertising can be useful over night. So we started discussing the idea with hundreds of marketing and communication decision makers in Europe. Next month, we host the third conference about „useful brand experiences“ (#ubx), as we like to call the concept.

Take a seat:

And last year, we did one campaign that can act as a case, how online advertising – display banners – can not only respect your privacy, but actually do much more than that: Be useful.

This campaign received many awards from the very industry leaders who wrote the above letter to Apple. It shows they’re not interested in reinventing themselves but rather trying to preserve a decade old business model which is doomed to fail in today’s world. Not an attitude a company like Apple will tolerate.

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