The future of advertising is no advertising

The current dialogue surrounding advertising in online media - sparked by Apple allowing ad-blockers in iOS 9, although more just the result of a rising tide - comes during a revolution in payments. The confluence of Blockchain technology, a growing disdain with the overheads demanded by online advertising systems and the realisation that they aren’t sustainable at best and cost more than they yield in the worst cases, make the writing on the wall luminous. Yet, the industry that itself created this mess remains in denial.

Not that it matters. We know what the future looks like it and it doesn't require advertising revenue nor agency participation.

Some recent tweets sum up where I think things are going:

In case I've created an impression of disdain for advertising and the agencies that create it, let me clear: I hate advertising. It ruins our public spaces, our online channels and corrupts our view of ourselves and the world. I find the current defence of advertising - by content creators especially - nauseating. I refuse to believe that we can't find a better way of monetising... well, anything. The price we pay for freedom from advertising is small, incremental payments for the content we consume and the services we love, instead of sacrificing our hearts and minds.

Banksy probably summed it up best:

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.

– Banksy

Long live the ad-blockers. Thank god for Bitcoin. And let's not cry for the dinosaurs that are about to go extinct.

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I'm a writer and broadcaster who also designs apps and strategies for disruptive startups in the financial world. Find out more on my about page.