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Opinion and Insight

We Need to Talk About Ad Blockers

LBB Editorial , 2 years, 5 months ago

Laura Swinton on a conscience-clearing bit of ingenuity from BETC Paris and D&AD that’s like Chatroulette for good ads

We Need to Talk About Ad Blockers

So. I have a confession to make. I, uh, don’t know how to say this… but I use an ad blocker. Not at work, for obvious reasons, but when I’m at home farting around on the Internet I just have no interest in knowing what horny girls from my area want to talk to me. Or, for that matter, what the ‘one weird trick to melt belly fat’ is. Why do doctors hate this woman? I don’t actually care. But I can’t quite shake a lurking feeling of guilt about this. I do, after all, work in the advertising industry.

I know I should be soaking up advertising in its context, out in the real world. I should probably be supporting media agencies with a few measly impressions or sitting through a YouTube pre-roll. I mean, it’s just a couple of seconds of eyedirt, isn’t it? Recently, though, the targeted advertising I’ve been getting on Facebook and YouTube has been for pregnancy tests. 

Guyz. 

Srlsly.

You must know something I don’t. 

Yes, I’m a 31-year-old female with a tendency to watch YouTube videos about mismatched animal friends and babies meeting puppies at 2am but… ugh… just stop it, Internet advertising. Go away and stop being so invasive.

And if you think that’s bad, after doing a bit of research for an article on the brilliant Coco de Mer film from TBWA London last week, Little Black Book’s Addison Capper has found his own Facebook timeline chock full of some rather… specialist… sponsored posts. 

You’ll forgive us, I hope, if we occasionally lapse and look to the devil’s Chrome extension for help. Last week, we got a press release from AdBlock Plus about a new mobile browser product and my first thought was, “Finally!”

So, yes, I’m torn (ish. I mean not like ‘Lamb Saag or Chicken Tikka Jalfrezi’ torn. I do have some sense of perspective). But how to resolve the conflict? This morning D&AD and BETC Paris launched what might be the perfect solution. The email dropped in my index accompanied by angelic hordes belting out Handel’s Messiah.

It was a bit like this (minus the cookies):


The D&AD Ad Filter is an extension for Chrome and Firefox that replaces crappy ads with the most creative spots the advertising industry has to offer. There are old ones, new ones, famous ones and ones which have faded into obscurity. My YouTube experience has already improved markedly, although my productivity has probably dropped a bit as I’m not skipping past the pre-rolls. The ads are drawn from the D&AD archive and while I like to think I’m pretty au fait with award-topping work, there have been plenty of surprises and pieces I’ve never seen before. It’s kind of like Chatroulette for ads. Brilliant!

The thinking behind it is, according to BETC Paris creative director Olivier Apers, "we wanted to demonstrate that people don't hate advertising, they just hate bad advertising.”

My conscience is stressed out enough as it is. Not that I do anything particularly bad, mind you, I just have a tendency towards neuroticism. So now, thanks to a bit of clever thinking and ingenuity, that’s one less stain on my grubby, smudged soul. I can block ads without blocking them. So, cheers BETC and D&AD! 


Oh and here are some of the random ads I ended up watching today, thanks to the Ad Filter. Like I said, Chatroulette for ads:


The updated Grey Poupon ad


Jim Beam 'Bold Choices'


smart skate fortwo

Stella Artois Skating Priests

Genre: Digital , Strategy/Insight