Tag Archives: facebook

Facebook: Intrusive Advertising?

If you are one of 250 million Facebook users, odds are you recently received this message, or even passed it along:

“Facebook has agreed to let 3rd party advertisers use your posted photos WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION. To opt out: Click on SETTINGS (located on top of page in blue bar, next to logout); Select PRIVACY SETTINGS; Select NEWS FEEDS and WALL; Select the TAB that reads Facebook Ads. There will be a drop down box; Select NO ONE. Save your changes & then PASS THIS ON.”
Though I don’t consider myself an avid Facebook user, when I saw this statement popping up all over my newsfeed, I was concerned—I wouldn’t have expected something like this from a successful networking website that has allowed millions to connect socially and professionally.

Apparently, the issue is troublesome enough that Barry Schnitt—manager of policy communications at Facebook—wrote a blog entry concerning the matter, assuring readers that this was not the case. Of course, since the blog post, Facebook has taken “measures” to ensure this would not happen.


In Mr. Schnitt’s blog, he states:

“The advertisements that started these rumors were not from Facebook but placed within applications by third parties. Those ads violated our policies by misusing profile photos, and we already required the removal of those deceptive ads from third-party applications before this rumor began spreading.”

From my standpoint, I think any advertisements accessed on the Facebook website—even if they are third party applications—are Facebook’s responsibility. The ads which misused pictures were removed, but what about those third party applications? And what about ads that misuse pictures in the future? It seems as though either nothing will happen to them at all, or they will just get a slap on the wrist. Facebook even claims, “Please note that Ads generated by third-party applications you have used are not controlled by this setting.”

Obviously, companies such as Google and Facebook have to make money somehow, and targeted ads enable them to do that—but there is a difference between relevant advertising and advertising that is intrusive.

For example, Google’s third party ads are related to the web engine’s search terms. This is what I would call targeted, relevant advertising. Facebook’s third party’s applications violated the terms and agreements. That is, they used user pictures without permission (most people expect a greater degree of privacy). I consider this intrusive advertising; the sort of advertising that is unwelcome among social network users.

Though my internship here at Ogilvy will be over at the end of this month, I have been here for roughly a year and a half.  In my time here, I don’t think I recall having seen any Ogilvy ad or ad campaign—in any presentation or seminar I’ve attended—that could be considered intrusive. I am not an expert on marketing and advertising, but for big-name brands, it seems like advertising in this manner can be detrimental to the reputations they’ve built and hope to maintain.



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A Random Thought on Advertising

As advertisers try to break through to communities tired of advertising, it might pay to take a look at the outlets everyone’s tuned into–news, film & TV shows, music, and blogs–as means for communication. Here’s my take on some of these outlets, and how we might begin to use them more effectively…

1. NEWS: A good way to judge a marketing idea is to ask what it would sound like as news. Is it even remotely newsworthy? If no, why not? A little over a month ago Post’s Shredded Wheat made a New York Times front page story for proudly bragging that it has lacked innovation since 1892. If Shredded Wheat can make the news with that headline, any brand can. In Queensland [http://www.islandreefjob.com.au/], the tourism board promoted a job taking care of a tropical island: “The Best Job in the World.” What a great way to sell Queensland. It made news headlines around the world.

2. FILM & TV: The public hates ads, but they love stories and characters. Is it possible for a brand create stories and characters? Surely— since all of us work for brands and all of us have stories. Thanks to the web, you can distribute your story to the masses and create engagement through characters—characters that can have Facebook profiles, twitter feeds, etc. It’s like creating your own celebrity. You would have your own celebrity persona.

Shredded Wheat created a character called Frank Druffel. Without any social media spend he has 900 Facebook fans, many of which are asking him to run for President. Putting that to shame in the UK is an insurance character who has over a 500,000 fans on Facebook.

Create your own celebrity. Now there’s a thought!

3. MUSIC: This is probably one of the biggest untapped opportunities for brands today. But I’m not smart enough to know just why.

4. BLOGS: Create an interesting story about a brand and people will blog about the brand. Place your brand into an existing piece of entertainment and they likely will not.

Brands have the ability to create original entertainment based on the brand’s best self. This content can then be distributed to the masses for a better deal than they’re getting from paid media right now.


While the industry may be slow to adapt, those who can will surely prosper.


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Being a huge sports fan, I not only browse ESPN.com for the latest updates on scores, but I also find editorials about various players or teams fascinating. Last week, I came across a lengthy article written by Wright Thompson about President Obama’s affinity and passion for basketball and how it influences “Washington’s most influential.” The article, “The Power Game,” discusses how the most powerful political figures and businessmen are brushing up on their basketball skills to prepare for the slight chance that they will be able to ball with the President.

Baron Hill, democratic member of the House and Indiana high school basketball legend, expressed his interest, stating: “I stayed away from the game and here I am shooting hoops again. And it’s because of him. If I ever have an opportunity to play with him, I want to be able to halfway get around that court well enough.”

(Doug Mills/ The New York Times)

President Obama presents a young and fresh approach to the White House and the presidency. He’s not only breaking down cultural and racial barriers, but he is also revolutionizing the way business is done in D.C…

President Clinton inspired a golf movement during his administration due to his strong interest in the sport, but President Obama is proving that basketball is the new golf. If you get the chance to play with the President, you gain power; you appear to be on the “inside.” As Thompson points out in his article, like junior high, everyone wants to follow what the “cool kids” do, what they wear and what activities they participate in. In this case, the cool kid is President Obama—and he “loves all things hoops.” Former Clinton press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, asks, "What’s the hottest invite in Washington? Yeah, it’s great to go to White House state dinners or Stevie Wonder kinds of events. But what’s the sine qua non? It’s a pickup game with Obama. That’s the inner, inner, inner sanctum. Proximity is everything in this town. How close are you to the epicenter?"

During his campaign, President Obama worked out with the UNC Tar Heels, much to the dismay of his personal aide, Reggie Love, who won the National title in 2001 with the Duke Blue Devils. The President picked UNC as the National Champions in the 2009 NCAA tournament and even predicted that the Los Angeles Lakers would win the NBA crown. (That’s 2 for 2!) Now how many past presidents have created their own brackets, (“Barack-Etology”) and invited ESPN columnist, Andy Katz into the Whitehouse for exclusive coverage of their tournament picks?

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

President Obama’s personal approach to his presidency has not only increased the nation’s interest in basketball, but it has also increased the general population’s involvement in politics. The election of President Obama created a record high number of tweets per second, only to be surpassed recently by the news of Michael Jackson’s death (5000 tweets per minute.)  President Obama is also the first to integrate social media sites such as Twitter (1,592,879 followers) Facebook (6,422,285 supporters) and YouTube into his campaign and now his presidency, which has given real power to the people.

For those of you who are not yet convinced about President Obama’s ability to influence and his passion for basketball, there is a blog, Baller-in-Chief, that reports all the basketball happenings and interests of President Obama. The blog reports that 38% of those surveyed think they can beat Obama in a game of basketball. Well, the UConn women’s basketball team—the 2009 National Champions—lost to Obama in a game of P-I-G. As a die-hard UConn fan, I must say that should be fair warning that President Obama is skilled. Although, I can also confidently say that they had to have let him win! ? 

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)



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"Fearless” Taylor Swift Takes Social Media by the Horns

I’ll come right out and say it: I’m a Taylor Swift fanatic.

While the 19-year old pop-country star has worked her way into the hearts of many a teeny bopper over the last two years, she’s also successfully crossed the divide into mainstream pop charts without missing a beat.





Swift’s second album, “Fearless” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums and, bolstered by her self-maintained (although expertly skinned) MySpace page (complete with amateur-esque YouTube videos) she has become the breakout country music princess of social media…


She makes using social networks as a marketing tool look effortless—giving fans an all-access pass to her personal thoughts (“Taylor Hanson came to my show tonight. My life is complete.”). Her Twitter handle? Taylorswift13.

Social media stats (at time of press):

YouTube: 199,128 subscribers
Facebook: 1,358,736 fans
Twitter: 690,422 followers
MySpace: 1,376,342 friends

Yet, despite her huge success, the singer/songwriter is not reluctant to poke fun at herself. In her latest (spoof) music video, “Thug Story” (a play on her hit “Love Story”) she collaborates with rapper T-Pain for a faux gangster rap:


The versatility of Swift’s music and her down-to-earth, quirky sense of humor seem to appeal to almost anyone—pre-pubescent girls and 20-something OgilvyEntertainment coordinators alike. Not that I am pointing any fingers…

What can I say—She’s just so darn cute!


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The Facebook/Google Debate: Targeted results at what cost?

I normally wouldn’t pick up Wired Magazine, but the weather being what it was this past weekend in the Hamptons, I found myself peeking over a friend’s shoulder as they were reading the July 2009 issue.  When I noticed that the article was about Facebook, my interest was piqued. I had to keep leaning and keep reading.




The article, “The Great Wall of Facebook,” focuses on the Google-Facebook rivalry, Facebook’s 4-Step Plan to online domination, and Google’s desire to crack the brand advertising conundrum. For the last decade Google has attempted to map out all the information in the online world by using algorithms and mathematical equations, their efforts thwarted by Facebook’s more personal approach to collecting valuable information about its users.  Facebook’s ultimate goal is to use this data in order sell targeted ads all over, with very personalized—but not intrusive—messages.

After reading the article I was faced with some mixed emotions. On one hand, being in advertising, I was excited about the potential and opportunities that Facebook is able to lend to our clients and OE’s business.  Facebook has literally created a “second internet” based entirely on its own servers using our user-generated data.   By Facebook’s estimates, there are 4 billion pieces of information contributed by its 200 million members every month.  The potential to sell targeted ads or content everywhere and make it really count is an ad man’s utopia.

Then the thought came to me that a lot of my personal information is out there in a shared public space: where I work, where I went to school, my birthday, and my personal pictures.  It started freaking me out.  While it’s not my first realization of this notion (I was hesitant from the start) I was a bit surprised when I read that Facebook can change the terms and conditions of its site at the company’s discretion (though, at least, not without member protest).  For now, each user’s information is not owned by Facebook–but who knows how long that will last?

Another thought came to me last week when I was searching for a hair salon. I needed a cut and highlights, and targeted marketing would have been completely handy and more efficient given my set of standards.  Rather than tapping into the cold mathematics of a Google search which may or may not bring results I like and may or may not be geographically desirable, a more personalized, humanized web would’ve been more practical and more efficient.  The only real obstacle would be making users feel comfortable without violating their privacy.   Of course, there is always the option to limit your data, but then, what would be the point?

So the whole idea of a search tool is now more complex.  Perhaps Google is still the heavy weight champion—but it will be interesting to see how the evolving Facebook network moves along in a relatively untapped online brand advertising platform. 

It would be nice if the two could find a way to work together to make my life more convenient and help the ad and content business become more effective, but it’s more likely that they will continue to race each other to the finish line.

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