Last year Apple announced that they will allow 3rd party software to block ads on Safari, iPhones and iPads. Some sites are 50% advertisements but the paradox is that the adverts make online content and sites free. So as a user you have to put up with ads if you want access to free content.


So if there are less or no adverts how do brands communicate? Well, Jaguar took an interesting approach for the launch of their F-Pace 4X4. They filmed their car doing the world’s biggest loop the loop and made front pages. Then they used social channels instead of traditional channels to push their content out to targets. Why did this work so well? Because they produced good quality content straight from the brand and gained the same eyes/views/engagement as traditional advertising could have. The consumer actively watched something that may have been ignored if it was served as an advert.

The implications of ad blocking are huge: Subscription services will rise and content will get better as it has to be interesting and engaging in order for us to respond to it. Brands will have to make content we want to watch or that adds value. The big sticks of mass TV and mass number generating adverts are no longer delivering, but targeted rich content does and creates less waste. This is better for everyone as content now has to be more genuine and enrich the viewer’s life in some way, rather than a brands' name just being thrown at the consumer.

If ad blocking comes to other platforms then the whole game changes, but that is the nature of the digital world. At the moment, advertisers are not responding to the consumer and just bombarding them. The consumer responds to engaging and enriching content.

However, ad blockers come with an important asterisk: While they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit. The App Peace, an ad blocker for ios9 was removed from the app store as, in the words of the creator, "it did not feel right. Peace required that all ads were treated the same — It was all-or-nothing and [didn't allow for decisions that were not] black and white."

So the fight between adverts and content rumbles on but what we can take out is that a "change is coming". The smart brands will be looking at smart targeted branded content, while others continue to invest in cheap banner ads as the prices start to drop.


Gavin Anderson | Director | 27th July 2016