Can advertising be successfully\unintrusively integrated on social networks?

August 3, 2009

I have always liked to see my facebook profile in spatial terms. Sort of like a living room cause that’s the room in ones’ house where his guests spend most of their time. It’s a controlled semi-public space. Ok so it’s sort of like your living room with a door to the street. That door may be transparent for by passers that want to take a peek or fully closed to them and open (to varying degrees) to your acquaintances. Now advertisers want to enter this space and hang next to the personal photos you have up your wall, a painting you love or the video you want your friends to see a big-ass advertising banner.

Now let’s think under what circumstances people may actually want to have this done to their living room. Personally I want no big-ass advertising banner in my living room because I can’t think of a single brand, person or message that has such that much significance in my life. In some cases however we do feel this way about some brands be it Obama prior to election, Madonna, a photo of their car or whatever other item they feel plays such a big role in their life.

There should be some sort of space on the profile page that allows the profile owner to personally choose what sort of advertising they want on it. For example I like Madonna. Give me a selection of 100 cool images of her and let me choose which one I want to be displayed in my profile (plz allow me to download and keep some afterwards). Now give me the option to display underneath that picture a personal message e.g. ‘Theo+Madonna=L.F.E’, when her next concert near me will be, and whether I will be attending or not. Similar thing with my new Ford Kuga. A picture of myself with the car that is hyperlinked to my album of pictures/ videos I have shot with my car. Etc. For the aforementioned reason it would also be important to let the user choose the size.

I imagine that this might also be possible in terms of branded tagging by the user him\herself. For example I put up a picture of me holding my baby, I could tag the clothes it is wearing with the brand ‘e.g. Diesel kids’ which in turn could be hyperlinked to the page of the Diesel online catalogue where that product might be found or I could also state its price, rating, review, place of purchase and why someone should visit that particular store. If I a have a photo taking a stroll with my child in a pram I could tag the pram’s brand.  Of course tagging is work and work often requires payment. It is a big question how much such work should be paid or in what way but one thing is certain: that it must be paid according to how influential that person is. For example a highschool’s gang of cool kids is very influential as they act as role models for a lot of their schoolmates. The cool gang always has the coolest accessory, device, clothes first. Indeed they also make it the coolest.

It doesn’t always need to be paid however. I might love the brand, its products or parallel causes they try to advance (e.g. environmentalism) so much that I might actually want to show my sympathy by promoting them myself. How it is possible to love a marketed thing so much is another story however.

It might be interesting to think how it is possible to expand the information about oneself in Facebook with content such as: who is your dentist, what car do you drive, favourite brand of clothes, favourite restaurant etc

So what do you think? Do practices such as the above stand a chance?

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