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Genetics-Based Advertising?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Holy Brave New World, Batman!

If you remember Huxley's work, you would recall that people were designated at birth where they would end up in life. Alphas and Betas got the plush places, while Deltas and Epsilons were manipulated cognitively to fill in all the lower spots. The castes were pre-determined, and the World State had its handling over the matters.

Enter our latest era of genetics.

We have no idea how we missed this. Apparently there is a lab in Minnesota called Miinome that believes that genetics can be used and bought for advertising and consumer preferences. Yes, the article gave the example of a young man who, in his genes, appears to have a predisposition to male-patterned baldness. His career too is stressful, which indicates that this gentleman could lose hair faster. Well, with this data, if the man decides to sell it to the genetics company, could then get tailored offers to male hair cosmetic products, meditation, yoga, and other stress-reducing activities.

The article went so far as to consider those people who have genes that indicate they may be prone to more serious diseases, and selling that information to social communities like PatientsLikeMe and CureTogether.

Whoa.

We want to preface this: we do enjoy learning about human behavior, and why people do the things they do. But advertising based on genetic data is a little much for us. We enjoy the game of cat and mouse with the human psyche, not employing scientists to mine data to see which ones will be prone to obesity and start sending them fitness center options.

Big Data is cool, but Big Brother? Not so much. Let's bring the reins in.

What say you, folks? Are we reacting too harshly to this Genetic-Based Advertising? If you had a client in healthcare, would you be tempted to use this latest "advancement"?


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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