Why the Future of Advertising is Scary (2021)

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Advert robots, viral addiction and influencer world domination.

The future of advertising is a weird and scary place.

In this quick article, I’ll make some predictions about what I think we’ll see in the near future.

Let’s crack on.

Advert Robots 

In many shapes and sizes. 

Drones

We’re only just getting to grips with the possibilities of drones. I predict they’ll become a huge part of outdoor advertising in the future. 

The Chinese already used drones to create a firework display, so it’s possible right now to create flying images. 

Imagine you’re at Glastonbury or some other huge outdoor event and a flying advert is in the sky – the exposure and attention it would get is huge! 

Holograms 

They brought Tupac back from the dead (if you believe he’s dead anyway, but that’s a conversation for another day) for Coachella, and I predict in the future advertisers will resurrect other dead celebrities to promote their products. 

So if you’re the 16th generation of an A-List celebrity worried the inheritance money will run out one day, chill out – you can always pimp out your distant relative to sell the iPhone 36 or the new hoverboard.

Neighbourhood nuisances

People want to work from home now more than ever, which means a massive drop in footfall in city centres and a lot less people seeing adverts in trains, buses and on city centre billboards. 

The advertising overlords can’t have that, can they? So what will they do?

Self-driving advert robot cars with PA systems driving around our neighbourhoods.

Tesla’s self-driving technology (Autopilot) is already available, so what’s to say once that’s established in say, 100 years, that we won’t trust driverless taxis?

Self-driving cars aren’t the future, they’re here. And I predict advertisers will use this tech to send advertisements to you in your home & garden.

If they can’t get you in the city, they’ll get you at home.

All the world’s a stage TV show

via GIPHY

And we’re all starring in it.

My boy J G Ballard (author of High Rise, Empire of the Sun and Crash) predicted this kinda Orwellian future ages ago, and he puts it much better than I could:

“Every home will be transformed into its own TV studio. We’ll all be simultaneously actor, director and screenwriter in our own soap opera. People will start screening themselves. They will become their own TV programmes.

J G Ballard in Vogue

He was right, wasn’t he?

Whether we’re livestreaming or writing blogs, we’re told content is king.

I predict our obsession with ‘personal brands’ will spiral out of control until it gets to the point where if you’re not constantly livestreaming your daily life, you’ll become irrelevant. 

Just look at what’s happening right now. If you dare take a two-week holiday and stop posting on social media, upon your return you discover your engagement has taken a nosedive.

We’re punished in the digital world for living life in the real world.

Scary sh*t. And on that note, I’m off to upload a photo of me sitting staring blankly at a laptop with quote I’ve not written.

(Not really – you know me better than that).

Right, what’s next?

Oh, yeah …

LinkedIn-filtration

via GIPHY

Have you noticed any LinkedIn influencers promoting random products, or is it just me?

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a website developer promoting a WordPress alternative or an email marketing expert promoting MailChimp, no, I’m talking about random products.

In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a recruitment specialist promoting several DIY ‘hack’ products, and a marketing expert advertising a new computer mouse – all using terrible off-brand tone of voices suspiciously similar to how the manufacturer would write.

For the record, I don’t have to much of an issue with it. If they’re getting paid a fee for it and they decide it’s worth selling out for, that’s on them.

But the fact it’s happening may be a sign of times to come. 

(BTW – If you wanna pay me like £20,000 to promote your product then GO FOR IT).

Print 4eva 

via GIPHY

We might have our lunch delivered into our 43th story flat by drone, livestream every moment of our day and drown out the noise of advert robots, but that doesn’t mean getting a letter through your door won’t be any less effective than it is now.

In a world increasingly digitised, I predict we’ll value the ‘old way of doing things’ more and more. 

How many unread emails have you got in your inbox? I’ve got 4300. It doesn’t bother me one bit. That number will increase until I can be arsed to use the ‘mark all as read’ function in Gmail.

But I read every single letter that comes through my door. And in today’s attention economy, that means a lot.

So fast-forward 100-or-so years, that’ll only become more and more effective. 

BUT – and there is a but – advertisers will think of increasingly devious ways to improve their chances of getting their advert opened. 

I predict we’ll see a trend of fake hand-written letters in the next 50 years. Why? Because the less business-y a letter looks, the more likely we are to open it. 

Advertisers know this already, but they’re currently preoccupied with the digital side of advertising. Once they turn their focus to print, you’ll have to memorise your pen pal’s handwriting if you want to avoid sifting through sales letter after sales letter.

Do you agree with my vision of the future of advertising?

Let me know if you think anything above will happen, or if you think I’ve gone too far with anything.

And if you enjoyed this article and would like some help writing a ‘The Future of’ blog for your industry, email me now at alex@actcopywriting.co.uk

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