Google, in a letter to the SEC, imagined a world where ads would be delivered in some pretty odd places: refrigerators, car dashboards, and thermostats, for starters.
Which raises an interesting question: How will we ignore ads when they are in our thermostats, our cars, and our dashboards?
We’ve gotten pretty good at shooting down popups and closing video ads before they’ve even loaded and we know who they’re for.
“When I’ve tested experienced users, one sees extreme results,” says Ben Edelman, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. “One in 10,000 college graduates clicking a banner ad.”
Part of growing up and becoming familiar with the internet, is learning how to put up blinders to the internet.
Some advertisers have tried coercion – forcing you to watch a video before you can get to the content you actually want to see. We’ve learned to ignore those too.
“What I end up doing is switching browser tabs, muting the ad – I’ve seen so many friends do this – and coming back to it later,” says Jeff Harmon, with Harmon Brothers Inc. He was behind one of the most famous ad campaigns of 2013, for bathroom deodorizer Poo-Pourri.
But that’s really clinging to the old TV mindset, says Harmon, which doesn’t translate to the internet where ignoring annoyance is just a click away. Plus, many advertisers – Google among them – have been moving away from that kind of force-feeder advertising.
These days, most video ads, for example, make you sit through just 5 seconds of an ad. So if you like it, you can watch the rest, and if you don’t, you move on.
So really, the strategy that will win in the future will be the strategy that wins today: “Being relevant and engaging,” says Harmon.
Perhaps in the future, we will turn to our Google-refrigerators and iCoffee makers for content: hilarious ads, dramatic ads, or companionship, friendship, and love. Oh sorry, not the last parts. But the content part.
Check out the slideshow above for some especially creative advertising solutions.
The latest recall from General Motors came Wednesday. It was for a couple hundred thousand subcompact Chevrolet Aveos. That’s on top of a couple million cars and trucks recalled Tuesday. And, of course, that was on top of the big recall over ignition defects that were linked to 13 deaths.
So far, GM has recalled almost 14 million vehicles this year, according to the company. But it's not slowing interest among people shopping for new GM cars, at least according to traffic on the car shopping site Edmunds.com.
Does the recall not matter? The site's consumer advice editor, Carroll Lachnit, notes their traffic only reflects new car shoppers, and some of GM’s recalled vehicles aren’t sold new anymore. And there's a question of branding: "In the majority of cases, the cars that people are looking at don't have the name GM on them," she says. "They're Chevrolets, they're Buicks."
Robert Passikoff of the group Brand Keys says GM’s brand loyalty had been edging back after quality issues and the hit of bankruptcy, but it still isn’t great. Passikoff recently surveyed the reaction of GM car owners who’ve had vehicles recalled.
“And they were of course negative, but they were three times as large as brands where loyalty was high,” he says.
In other words, less loyalty going into a recall meant more unhappiness coming out. Passikoff says that will show up in GM sales down the line.
More than two-thirds of women who had a double mastectomy after a cancer diagnosis didn't have the high risk that could be reduced by the surgery, a study finds.
The policy shift, set to take effect July 11, is designed to align practices across the federal government, where some law enforcement agencies employ recordings and others don't.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been visiting China. The result? The two countries are reported to have struck a $400 billion deal in which the Russian gas company Gazprom will supply energy-hungry China.
Gazprom is a company. It has a CEO, Alexei Miller, and you can buy its stock. But ownership is a combination of private and public, and Keith Crane, director of the Rand Corporation’s environment, energy and economic development program, says a little over half the shares are owned by the state and the state calls the shots.
“Gazprom’s key asset is the fact that if you’re a gas producer in Russia, there’s only one company you can sell your gas to, and that’s Gazprom.”
The company, says Crane, has something of a reputation. "It’s highly corrupt, and a lot of money leaks out of the country into the hands of various officials and individuals so I would not invest in it,” he says.
That's one reason why, he notes, this deal with China is so important.
Then, there's the European problem. With the tension between Russia and Ukraine, through which most Russian gas moves, European countries are looking for alternative sources. Andy Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategeic and International Studies, says the European market for Russian gas is growing a lot more slowly.
“China is the largest growth engine, it’s the fastest growing consumer, and importer of hydrocarbons, oil and gas,” he says.
And, Kuchin notes, while oil makes up a large part of Russia's revenue, keeping natural gas prices low, for production and heating costs, is critical for the country’s domestic economy.
"A good way to think about it is that for the Russians, they’ll say, 'That’s oil, that’s dengi, that’s money. But for gas, 'That’s khleb, that’s our bread,'" he says.
Kuchins says Gazprom probably has rights to over 15 percent of the gas reserves in the world. And since it shares a border with China, this deal for gas should be a win for both countries.
Described as the largest-ever such operation in the city, it yielded some 600 computers, tablets and smartphones containing what officials say are "shocking" images.
The president tells Congress that 80 U.S. armed forces personnel have been deployed to the central African nation to help locate the nearly 300 girls kidnapped last month in Nigeria.
Potatoes and tomatoes are nutritious and delicious. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that Americans tend to consume way too many of them in unhealthy ways, like french fries and pizza.