One of the most popular topics of speculation surrounding the U.S. Presidential election is how Donald Trump will avoid potential conflicts of interest with his businesses when he takes office – and takes his pay cut. For now, it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer for those details.
Perhaps more germane for those reading this newsletter is what impact a Trump presidency will have on the advertising industry. To that end, just yesterday the country’s top tech leaders were summoned by the President-elect for a confab of sorts. Among various agenda items, job creation loomed large.
For what it’s worth, I wholeheartedly support any endeavor that puts people (in any country) to work and contributes to the (global) economy. However, I think there’s one angle worth playing that I doubt came up at Trump Tower yesterday. Hint: it has nothing to do with jobs and everything to do with ads.
The recent announcement of “Project Awesome” by the Rubicon Project reminded me of a proposal I shared (via the blogosphere) with President Obama one month after his inauguration in 2009. Rubicon’s Project Awesome portends to give consumers control of their advertising experience by allowing them to share their interest and choose the ads they want to see.
I truly admire the ambition here and especially appreciate the PR spin: “This launch is part of a broader corporate initiative that calls on the entire advertising industry to focus on keeping the Internet free and open, and fuel its growth by changing advertising for good.” (Remember what we said last week about how doing good is good business?)
While this is certainly a noble step for consumer-kind, I think the only real way we can get people to lean forward and take ownership of their advertising experience is if we pay them directly. Which brings me back to my proposed stimulus package for Trump or any other world (or tech) leader that wants to adopt it.
Back in 2008, I discussed compensating consumers for sharing their non-personally identifiable information with advertisers. I even ran an experiment to prove the concept by selling my data to an ad agency on eBay. You can see the results and key insights here.
Now here we are in 2016 and there’s even more uncertainty in the world. On a macro level, you’ve got things like climate change, poverty and terrorism. On a mirco-level – and sometimes it’s helpful to remind ourselves just how micro our issues are – you’ve got media fragmentation, cord-cutting and ad blockers.
I won’t pretend to have the solve for all the world’s (or our industry’s) problems. But it’s worth having another think about how we incentivize consumers to care as much about advertising as much as we do. And it may just require some Hamiltons to get the job done.
Hope all this talk of politics didn’t spoil your appetite for more of 4C’s Insights.
Read the rest of 4C’s Insights Volume 35 here.
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