Customizing Ads down to the Individual Consumer/Voter

A good article in the New York Times  today on a trend that is picking up steam in the private sector advertising world, and could easily port over to politics soon. The story lays out how the combination of advanced digital tools and the internet are allowing mass customization in the production and distribution of advertising.

The story highlighted how several  companies are providing the means for giant corporations all the way down to small business owners like individual real estate agents to tailor commercials using a wide range of stock material. So a local car dealer can go on the web and use these services to easily create car commercials targeting his or her local audience.

The companies also help place the ads in cable  niches (and soon other arenas like mobile phones) so that the tailored messages actually reach the individuals they were designed for.

And since the internet ties this all  together, an advertiser can adjust the message within minutes before it will air. The story gave an example of Wendy’s tweaking halftime commercials on NFL football games to reflect how the games were going.

This “molecular marketing” is still very new in the business world, but you can see the obvious implications for politics. With time, you can see a wide range of political ads targeting a wide range of constituencies, and getting placed in media that gets closer and closer to connecting with individual voters.

Some political media consultancy or  campaign is going to leverage these pioneering companies, or emulate their model and start the migration of political advertising into this micro-targeting space. Keep watching for this.

Peter Leyden