There have been some amazing technological developments celebrated by everyone over the last few years. On the flip side, there are some cutting-edge technologies being implemented today that we don’t hear about (probably intentionally). In honor of spooky season, I’m going to share with you some not-so-well-known creepy tactics of marketing.

We have all experienced a moment of “WTF” when an advertisement for a product you talked about earlier that day shows up as you scroll through your phone. That feeling is typically momentary and we don’t put too much stock into how that got there. Most people find it invasive and a bit creepy but, nonetheless enjoy the personalized experience and convenience these technologies provide.

The question remains to be answered, how far is too far? What they pick up from your private conversations? That inaudible dialogue between your TV and phone? Do you wish you had the ability to browse the web privately? Aren’t your dreams sacred? Here are a handful of the scariest tactics and technologies being used on all of us today.

Silverpush is a marketing technology company based out of Singapore founded in 2012. Their initial technology uses “watermarked” inaudible sounds that play during television advertisements. Those sounds are then picked up by your phone triggering the desired advertisement to be shown. Due to ethical pushback, though, of course, cited as a “business decision” the developers pivoted slightly. They now offer “Mirroring and Parallel” technologies that detect audio and video bits on your phone to provide relevant advertisements. These technologies make sure your digital ads show up in parallel with television ads based on the time they are aired. Some companies working with similar technologies are Drawbridge and Flurry.



In a great article from the creepy use of Dream Influencing Technology is discussed. We all know our smart speakers, assistants, and phones listen to us but are we listening to them? This article breaks down how many eager advertisers are jumping on the Dream Influencing Marketing train. Dream influencing typically happens by displaying specific ads right before the consumer falls asleep. They have gone so far as discussions around possibly having Alexa emit certain sounds while the consumer is sleeping to influence their dreams. The authors did a great job questioning the ethics of using such technologies and also the health risks of disrupting normal sleep patterns.

Do you use DuckDuckGo or incognito mode when you are surfing the web? Whatever your reasons may be for wanting to be private, you should be aware that services like Lead Forensics exist. This service offers its customers instant identification, business name, demographics, contact information, and even financial data of anonymous website visitors. Through the lens of a sales-driven marketer, this is awesome. To the credit of all the aforementioned services/tactics, they are generally using them to find their target audience only, in particular those who are more likely to convert to a sale. Nonetheless, these are all happening. And in so many ways, this comes at a significant cost to us as consumers, not only in terms of the damage to our sense of privacy, but also to our wallets.  

What are your thoughts? Do you have any examples of creepy tech being used today?

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