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Creative adblocking


Special edition featuring news on creativity and the topsy-turvy world of digital adblocking

The big news this week concerns the current obsession with adblocking software.

These businesses do exactly what you might imagine - block ads so that you can't see them. Some companies can see you have an adblocker and ask you to disable it, some preventing you seeing the pages you want to see. Facebook recently announced it could bypass adblocking software, which promted the adblockers to say they could bypass the bypass.

Anyway, one of the marketer leaders, AdBlockPlus, this week announced that it would start to (drum roll please...) sell ads.

In the topsy-turvy world of digital display this seems to be acceptable.

So much so that they call their idea Acceptable Ads. Actually they insist that they are not selling ads at all but they do allow people with ads to whitelist their own easily, so it comes through the adblocking system. Users then have the option to re-block those ads again.

That brands can whitlist their ads "in seconds" does suggest that there may be something awry with this system.

Launched with ComboTag and partners including AppNexus and Google, both firms then distanced theselved from the project, with Google severing ties with ComboTag.

As so much of what we do is digital, one industry has carved out the worst of all possible worlds: news.

News drives headlines, sells papers and magazines. Or used to. Now that so much print has migrated to digital, usually for free, the problem has been that there is no product in the old fashioned sense any more. The digital executions are ephemeral. In fact, news could not be backed by venture-capitalists because it isn't sufficiently profitable. Yes people still crave it.

Could hyperlinking to copyrighted material infringe copyright? New legislation from the EU suggests that this may be the case.

Our copywriters' favourite copywriter Dave Trott says creativity is under threat because those in marketing teams have some knowledge. An anecdote by Frank Zappa illustrates the old world view - those holding the purse strings would take a punt on music they had no opinion about at all, or even disliked. Why? Because they knew that they were not the audience and somebody might like it. This attitude brought amazing music to the masses. And it's exactly what is not happening in advertising now, says Trott.

Trott warms to his theme here on the relationship between advertisers and agencies, the modern nature of branding and storytelling:

As part of the Paralympics launch, Campaign ran a special edition featuring names from advertising who use potential disadvantages very much to their advantage. One example is co-founder of AKQA Dave Hilton, who was recently disgnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum. Hilton says his condition was an advantage, giving him the edge particularly where matters of design came under scrutiny.

To advertising.

Since the account for Premier Inn moved from RKCR/Y&R to wunderkints Lucky Generals, they have made the unusual step of hiring Kill List and High Rise director Ben Wheatley to direct the new spots. Lenny Henry is there in voiceover only. The choice of Wheatley is reputedly there to avoid 'cheesiness'.

In a trip back the future, read this encounter between the first ever two chatbots, conducted in 1973. It quickly turns very passive-aggressive and doesn’t end well.

The CATS (Citizens Advertising Takeover Service) developed by Glimpse was a successful Kickstarter campaign. This week it launched at Clapham Common station. There are some lovely pictures of... cats - in case you hadn't had enough on Facebook. And a video too.

The Guardian lists another five OOH takeovers.

We welcome this week Dr Glenneth Benson, who introduces the WCRS Sprintathon and urges everyone to stand up for cancer.

If you are in Los Angeles, try the latest in new jobs prompted by our digital world - the People Walker. Also take a look at Uber's first self-driving car.

Finally, the first video produced for The White Stripes for years has arrived, City Lights, by Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry, shows you can achieve superb results with the absolute minimum of resources.

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