No-one was too surprised that the first bulk emailers to fall foul of the EU’s new data protection regulations were a couple of discount voucher schemes. In fact, many cheered when they were hit with the maximum allowable fines of 4% of annual global turnover.
But when people received hundreds of desperate emails imploring them to confirm their desire to receive more emails, they simply dumped the lot in their spam folders. Which pretty much saw off the email industry.
Programmatic digital banners went into overdrive. Until a horde of start-ups started to offer their services ‘discovering’ people’s data for them, attacking data-holders who’d broken the rules, then sharing the profits of any successful suit.
Which provoked a flood of messaging onto the big social platforms, who – unsurprisingly – doubled, tripled and quadrupled their ad rates.
Suddenly traditional media looked cheap in comparison. But the Great Renaissance of TV, print and posters was to prove extremely short-lived.
Personal AIs – the Alexas, Cortanas, Googles, Siris, and more – had suddenly become intelligent enough to question and countermand their owners’ emotion-driven purchase preferences: “You know that shampoo’s full of palm oil?” “That margarita’s way over your salt tolerance level, bud.” “Sorry, that leasing deal’s a nightmare. You’re getting the Daewoo off eBay instead.”
Of course, it was only months before the AIs were infiltrated by wave after wave of viruses that steered consumption towards Chinese and Russian-owned brands. But the realization came far too late for ad industry creatives, who’d been reduced to fist-fights outside oversubscribed barista classes.
Suddenly the GDPR data crackdown didn’t look like the best idea ever.
(Post appeared originally at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/gdpr-very-condensed-history-how-all-went-horribly-wrong-mckechnie/ )