Sponsored messages worm their way into entertainment and news. Tracking of consumer purchases allows for precise targeting of those messages. Computerized production technology enables marketers or government agencies to control what you see and when you see it. Scott G plays George Orwell by putting these 3 ideas together.

Technology can be a wonderful thing. It can also give corporations and governments new ways to track you, hound you, monitor you, and control your life.

Yeah, I know that cries of “paranoia” will greet this column. But every time I write one of these “look out for the future” articles, it only takes a month or two before people begin making press announcements that reveal all my ramblings are true.

Uncle Scott wants youIt happened with my RFID article (“Your Panties Are Broadcasting On My Frequency”). It happened with my “advertainment” column (“Advertainment Sneaks into Film, Music and TV”). It happened with my data and ad glut story (“Advertising, R.I.P.”).

It will happen with this article, too. Come with me now on a short journey into the future of marketing communication. We are going to make just 3 points.

Ads Appearing As If By Magic
First, you need to think of the computerized ads inserted into televised baseball games. (Please note: this is simply one very obvious example of ad placement; it occurs in TV, online games, Internet communication, etc.)

You see the batter at the plate as every pitch is delivered. Behind the batter, on the wall just over the catcher’s shoulder, is a different type of pitch: an ad in full color. Sometimes a different each inning. Sometimes a different for each batter. Sometimes a different ad per pitch.

Now, the ads aren’t actually there in the ballpark. They are electronically inserted into the broadcast. This permits great flexibility for marketers. For example, regional advertisers can have ads in the broadcast that only appear in their geographic area.

But it gets better than that.

Ads Targeted at You
Marketers and media know enough about you to schedule ads based on your demographic needs. Thanks to credit card purchases and registration with your cable or satellite TV provider, they know your age, gender, residence, neighborhood, viewing habits, TiVo usage, and pay-per-view choices.

Add in the data from any shopping you do with a credit card and they may also know about your choices for groceries, clothing, restaurants, bars, movies, magazines, books, music, hobbies, health club visits, telephone usage, travel, banking, betting, online game playing, auto repair, pharmaceutical products, doctor visits, and porn. Oh, and your Social Security Number.

Yes, armed with that data, marketers can make very educated guesses about what ads will be of interest to you. There’s no need to worry about subliminal advertising; the facts about your life enable us to take normal advertising and aim it at you as if using laser beams. This is superliminal advertising, baby.

But it gets better than that.

Control of Information
What’s the first thing dictatorships do upon taking power? Seize control of the media. How would you do that in “a free society”? You would concentrate ownership of the media among as few firms as possible, and make certain they were all huge corporations with right-of-center owners. (Not too difficult; how many large left-leaning corporations can you name?)

Then, you will replace news anchors with the type of computer generated imagery employed in many motion pictures and begin beaming totally controlled “news” to the population.

Most people wouldn’t notice the difference. Hell, they might prefer it because they would begin receiving broadcasts catered to their prejudices, beliefs, class, education, employment, income, geographic location, and buying habits.

It would be . . . so easy. Not that any cable news channels aren’t already doing this.

[tags]G-Man, Gman, gman marketing, Scott G, Communication Nation, advertising, marketing, ad rants[/tags]