The alleged ‘targeted advertising’ columns at the side of many an email account layout make me think that occasionally:
a) someone else has been using my account
b) someone back at email HQ has lost a vital line of their code somewhere between user testing and system implementation or
c) someone back at email HQ has had a bloody good liquid lunch, decided to play an online practical joke and shortly after pressing ‘Enter’ has collapsed comatose under their desk and remained there snoring until smacked in the shins by the night-shift cleaner’s vacuum brush-head.
For example, sporadically the two online ads in my side bar are exactly the same ad, separated by a time-lag of about a second. Thus have I seen one hot-dog chasing after another to the right hand side of my screen, swiftly followed by two pints of stout doing the same.
Sometimes – no doubt when the advertisers haven’t paid their bills – I get ads for companies which patently don’t exist, as they are usually called ACME something or other and their telephone number is always 901234 56789.
Then there are the times when email HQ reroutes clickbait as an ad – usually the ‘1 weird tip to lose belly fat’ (usually accompanied by a vibrating banana or a guy repeatedly pouring what looks like a combination of cooking oil and urine into a glass), or the ’60-year-old insert location here mum looks 40 by using this’ (usually the location varies from Penzance to Elgin and is accompanied by a picture of a 30-year-old woman peeling off a prosthetic granny-face).
I’m often shown ads for things I’ve just bought, presumably in the hope that I’ll buy another one even before I get the confirmation email through from the first order.
I’ve seen ads for everything from baby entranklements to over-70’s life insurance, budget caravans to bank-account-busting cruises, self-help seminars to power tools.
But the most memorable occasion was when the ads showed quite a wide selection of basques, flirty corsetry and body control underwear accompanied, inexplicably, by one advert for brogues. What kind of life do they think I lead? Do they think I would like to be incredibly sexy and yet have comfortable feet?
Well, now you come to mention it…