Speak UpA Former Division of UnderConsideration
The Archives, August 2002 – April 2009
advertise @ underconsideration
---Click here for full archive list or browse below

Eric Karjaluoto of SmashLab tells the story of a failed public relations endeavor, full of insults at his ideasonideas weblog. In short, a firm sent a boiler plate e-mail campaign without addressing Eric on a first name basis, and without what he calls “pull.” They pushed the message at him, instead of pulling him in.

In technological contexts, push results when data is sent to a user’s device without permission. Spam in your inbox is push. Most pop-up windows with advertising are push. Getting a text message on your phone about some wacky new 50 Cent ringer is push. Getting television advertisements shoved at you while you’re watching the Office or Project Runway is push. This represents a failure among the millions of dreary campaigns floating through our mediascape: too much push, not enough pull, not enough engagement. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.

Of the many usergroups I belong to, it’s the iPhone developer group that sends me the most messages on a daily basis. I receive close to one hundred technical updates, queries, and job openings every 24 hours. When I first logged into the usergroup, I subscribed to the updates, in effect asking to pull the messages to my inbox. I can turn it off whenever I want, no different than a magazine or newspaper subscription. The usergroup itself is not push, but after reading the messages for almost a year now, I’ve learned that developers are up to something pushy.

A fraction of them want to use the iPhone’s GPS, whereby they send the phone’s location and identity to a database or administrator. When location-oriented computing meets push: (1) somebody will see where you’re at and (2) that somebody can effectively target their push. In the future, we may drive past a gas station and have our iPhone vibrate or ring, with a graphic displaying $0.79 Big Gulps, a 1 liter soft drink special with the purchase of any gas. Yes, cars already have the GPS infrastructure for this. Yes, your cable television provider does this too when they send you advertisements relative to your zip code. But your phone means everything to you.

We have our phones with us more often than we’re behind the steering wheel or in front of the television. Phones have become, and will continue to become pervasive. We use them at work, at home, during meals, and even in the bathroom. I’ve seen far too many teenagers exit stalls while still texting on their keypad. How do they even wipe? Neither bodily functions nor entertainment get in the way of our relationship with the phone. When I saw the Dark Knight in the movie theater, one audience member blogged through his iPhone to post a review as he watched the movie—in the dark.

Popular science fiction has predicted personalized advertisements, with Minority Report being the model that most of us fear: walking by the Gap, being measured by infrared, and learning about a sale item waiting for us on the rack; but hurry, it’s the last one. Those ambitious advertisements sit twenty years down the road, if that. But millions of mobile phones already sit in our pockets, purses, and belt holsters with GPS built in, and our browsing histories cached.

The future of advertising is right around the corner and it will be business as usual. Messages will get pushed at you, whether you like it or not, right into the phone in the palm of your hand. And if this idea gets you giddy with excitement, wait until embedded systems build the technology into your clothing, or worse, into the actual palm of your hand.

Oddly, the New York Times published this article (How to Save Local Newspapers: Cellphones) in its Technology blog while I was finalizing this piece for Speak Up. The NY Times writer illustrates how the mobile phone is getting more people to read the news. Read it for startling statistics, and learn about which newspapers outsource their mobile news.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ARCHIVE ID 5071 FILED UNDER Hardware/Software
PUBLISHED ON Jul.25.2008 BY Jason A. Tselentis
Design Benign’s comment is:

Do you see any applications for this technology beyond marketing?

Signal points could warn people on their phones of upcoming traffic jams or other problems in a particular area, quicker than they could receive updates on a radio broadcast. I can also see countless artistic applications of this technology, especially if one could communicate back to whoever sent the signal. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

On Jul.25.2008 at 08:46 PM
Jason A. Tselentis’s comment is:

There are plenty of 'benign' applications that we could see in the near future. If you haven't eaten enough vegetables, you could be alerted about a celery sale at the grocery. If a robbery has occurred blocks from your neighborhood, you could learn about the suspect. Yes, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Yes, there are applications beyond marketing. But who will take charge of these tools first? Governments? Municipalities? Advertisers?

On Jul.25.2008 at 10:49 PM
Design Benign’s comment is:

Well, as with any new technology, pornography is usually the first to utilize it and call for technological upgrades and advances: VHS tapes, boradband internet connections, video cell phones... I can picture it being used in Las Vegas or red light districts, when driving past strip clubs images of the dancers could be sent to your cell phone to entice you to come in...

On Jul.25.2008 at 11:27 PM
Jeff’s comment is:

Ah. A frightening future awaits.

On Jul.26.2008 at 11:08 AM
Pesky’s comment is:

Jeff, the future need not be frightening, but it will be more controlling. Do we have a choice to engage or reject this pervasive/invasive technology? Depends on if you want individuality bad enough. But that won't stop eager hands from grabbing the next textmessaging/ipod/video/crap from Apple and AT&T. Even if it destroys brain cells.

Hakim Bey, author of "Temprary Autonomous Zone" wrote: "Physical separateness can never be overcome by electronics, but only by "conviviality", by "living together" in the most literal physical sense. The physically divided are also the conquered and the controlled. "True desires" - erotic, gustatory, olfactory, musical, aesthetic, psychic, & spiritual - are best attained in a context of freedom of self and other in physical proximity & mutual aid. Everything else is at best a sort of addictive replacement."

On Jul.26.2008 at 01:00 PM
Neuehaus’s comment is:

This is great! Ill bookmark it over at our place:


On Jul.26.2008 at 05:30 PM
Josh’s comment is:

I can't tell if i'd mind or not, but what would be some interesting applications would be for sightseeing.

Perhaps if the iPhone is opened up a bit more in the future there could be a mingling of a Google Maps and a "it happened here" VH1 pop up video of deal. For example, Jones Street, where the Freewheeling Bob Dylan cover was shot. We already know people will often go to locations to recreate photos in situations like this. So being able to download this or subscribe to such notifications would maybe be an interesting line.

As for being "pushed" to let me know when Big Gulps are on sale no need.

Perhaps if was like a mashup of RSS and GPS would be something interesting. Did I just give away a million dollar idea. Shoot!

On Jul.27.2008 at 05:23 PM
Hex’s comment is:

This is great! Ill bookmark it over at our place:


Speaking of "Push"...

On Jul.29.2008 at 04:23 PM