Mark Zuckerberg’s New Clothes: Is it time brands stopped burning money on social media?

by | Jan 24, 2021 | News

I have become obsessively distracted by terrible advertising on my social media feeds. Today’s highlight is an advert for an independent girls school in Wiltshire…a worthy winner ahead of Ferrari and a private jet chartering company.

Not only do I not have kids, but I live a long way away from Wiltshire. Having used the ‘Off-Facebook’ activity tool, it didn’t take me long to understand why this school thought I might be in their market. Turns out Zoopla, along with every other app on my phone, shares my data with Facebook to help bolster its marketing. So, when I searched what my 2 bed London flat could get me outside of London, I found a castle in Wiltshire (complete with turrets!) and followed up with a search for schools in the area on the assumption it was a million miles away from civilisation…how else could I afford a castle for the price of my flat?!

Fast forward 24 hours and bingo, I’m a father of at least one 16+ year old girl in Wiltshire. Madness! Ferrari is a more obvious one as I spend a fair bit of time searching fast cars on AutoTrader that I can’t afford. I even use the financing tool to see just how much I’d have to stretch to ever afford a red prancing horse. That leaves private jet hire, which I searched months ago for a laugh to see if my friends and I could kick-off my Vegas stag in style… turns out, no we can’t (about 40,000 noes).

And yet, these unsuspecting brands (or their agencies), feel my browsing habits warrant spending money to spam 1 in every 4 posts on my social feeds with totally irrelevant adverts…day after day after day in the belief it’s money well spent!! Don’t get me started on ads for things I’ve already bought…

Back to my obsession. I’ve got into a habit of reading through the comments people leave on these pointless adverts and turns out, I’m not alone! Thousands of comments under adverts show that people are starting to question why brands are choosing them as worthy viewers of their ‘sponsored’ content in desperate battle for attention. One of my favourites being Rolls Royce… surely, they of all brands don’t need to be spending money to market to broke individuals like me.

It’s got to a point now where brands are risking their reputation whilst burning tonnes of money (£14 Billion digital ad spending UK 2019) by advertising to completely the wrong audience. Why do they do it?! Is there really that big a lack of alternative?

It seems the latest way to improve ‘engagement’ is to leverage influencers who command a large following on social media. However, today’s news that Asos are in trouble with the Advertising Standards Agency for a tie-up with Zoella seems another example of where Instagram and Zoella make money but the brand is left licking it’s wounds having spent tens of thousands of pounds on a post that in all likelihood was viewed by cashless teenagers.

I think it’s time people stopped pretending that Social Media is wearing the coolest kicks in town. They are in fact totally naked!


by | Jan 24, 2021 | News


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