I was at a StartUp Club event last night and had a brief discussion with someone who had the thesis that all advertising by companies is evil and therefor will soon (?) be overtaken by personal recommendations from your social circle.
I disagree with that for a number of reasons (eg, your social circle may not be best qualified to make a recommendation etc etc), but during the course of the discussion I was surprised when no one recognized the term Perfect Advertising. A quick bit of Googling today only turned up one decent post, and yet I’m sure this isn’t a concept I’ve invented.
Perfect Advertising is the idea that a person sees no advertising until they need something, and at that point a single advertisement is presented to them that matches their requirements perfectly.
The example last night was jogging shoes. The original argument was that you will get shoe recommendations from your friends. My counterpoint was that it would be easy to get better recommendations by instrumenting your body and taking advice from sports scientists, and in a world with perfect advertising you would be presented with a single choice of shoes, in the correct size that compensated perfectly for your over or under pronation. That’s not a recommendation your friends are likely to be qualified to make, but of course perfect advertising would take into account the views of your social circle, too (eg: will you be socially ostracized by buying Nike shoes, or will you be laughed at for buying Vibrum Five Fingers?)
This might seem a distant goal, but none the less it’s an important concept because it shows the weakness in social advertising systems (the lack of intent) as well as a weakness in search advertising systems (the lack of context).
Is it easier to add context to search advertising or derive intent in social advertising? That’s the $100 billon question (literally), and I don’t have the answer.