If you’ve never seen an ad that pissed you off, then you probably have no business calling yourself a feminist – and there’s nothing new about subverting an ad that displeases you.
What’s new is targeted self-serve online advertising. It takes both the problem of sexist advertising and the process of subversion to a whole new level – because in an online environment where every piece of advertising presented to the end user is targeted based on demographics, advertisers can reach their exact audience with their intended message in a completely undiluted fashion. When you happen to be a single woman, these targeted ads can get pretty nasty:
A couple of months ago, I gave a five-minute talk on this problem, and how I subvert advertising online at Ignite Night in Seattle, WA. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
If you like the idea, and you want to try it for yourself, here’s how:
- Consider what about the targeted ads you receive pisses you off.
- Come up with a clever message that turns the offensive message on its ear.
- Decide who you want to reach with your message.
- Write a blog post addressing that audience – here in the Feministing Community or elsewhere. (Be sure to avoid any direct mention of a certain social network whose name rhymes with “Macelook” if you want to buy an ad on that site and link to your blog post. If you make direct mention of them, you’ll violate their advertising policy and your ad will be rejected.)
- Go to this self-serve ad portal (or similar) and design an ad that sells your message succinctly. Pick an interesting visual and be snappy with your text. Call out that the ad links back to your blog post on the subject.
- Set your budget – make sure to cap your campaign at a number you can reasonably afford. I usually spend between $25 and $50 on my campaigns.
Submit your ad and wait for approval.
This feels AMAZING and is totally worth the money. Here are some examples of ads I did: