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Go to McDonald’s if you want to eat at Burger’s King

The ads pulling you to Burger King as you get close to a McDonalds. Image credit: Burger King

Imagine you fancy a McDonald’s. You walk towards the nearest one and as you approach you get a message from Burger King telling you: “Are you sure you want a Mac? There is a Whopper waiting for you a few steps away and you can get it for just 1c!”

This is happening in the US in a publicity stunt launched by Burger King, called WhopperDetour. The Burger King app in your phone track your whereabouts and if you get “dangerously” close (600 ft) to a McDonald’s the app wakes up and send you the message. You just need to click on it to have your Whopper ordered and you can go and pick it up for 1c. The offer is limited in time but apparently has convinced 50,000 people that a 1c Whopper is better value than a 3.99$ Big Mac.

Not sure if this sort of advertisement will be allowed in other parts of the world but it drew my attention because if shows how advertisement can change as it has the possibility to target the market of one.

I am already seeing that by searching something on Google I get ads on completely unrelated pages (like the newspaper I read on line) linked to the search I made.

As an article on Wired pointed out, we are shifting from a world where you pay for a service you need to a world where that service is paid through advertisement and you will eventually pay for that service once you by the product advertised.

I already have the option of buying a subsidised Kindle (saving some 10-20$) and accepting to receive ads on the cover page, I get to use apps for free as long as I accept ads when using them, I watch YouTube and get ads, with the option of getting rid of that by subscribing to a premium offer….

Will I get to choose a cheaper Uber car if I accept ads on the trip? Would giant stickers on my car get me discounted petrol?

Looking at how much intrusion people are willing to accept in their life to get a few $ worth discount I am wondering if we really value privacy anymore.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.