You’ve probably had a version of this discussion sometime during the past few years:
You: “I was Googling vintage toasters the other day, and now I’m seeing ads for 4-slice Cuisinarts every time I log in.”
Your friend: “That’s just creepy.”
Most of us have gotten used to this kind of advertising based on recent search history; some of us even find it useful. Either that or we’ve upgraded our ad blocking technology with a vengeance.
Now, Cost World Plus is taking personalization one step further, with outdoor and print ads that are so personalized, they call shoppers out by name and weave an entire product story around them.
“Has Cost Plus World Market been spying on you?” asks T.L. Stanley writing in AdWeek. “When the furniture and decor retailer says with some specificity that it knows how and where you live, it’s actually true. Creepy or clever?”
Take a look at these actual print ads:
Whoa. That’s some intense level of personalization and relevance right there. And no, they didn’t go data mining for it. According to Stanley, this was all opt-in info, and the participants agreed to have their information used in the ad campaign about small living spaces. And that makes this whole thing pretty incredible.
“Cost Plus and its agency went the old-school route—no data mining or social media stalking here—and simply asked consumers in San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle to opt in and share their information,” he writes. “The result is nearly 100 versions of the personalized print and outdoor ads.”
Keeping with the “small spaces” theme, the brand has also created some real world tie-ins.
“It’s the first work from barrettSF for Cost Plus, and it includes a 40-page product catalog that’s only 2 inches tall and a fully furnished living room built on top of a Chicago bus shelter, in keeping with the tiny-home theme,” Stanley continues.
That’s some masterful brand storytelling there, and the opt-in aspect of the campaign keeps it from being tone deaf. I gotta wonder though…would you opt into this kind of thing? And how long before brands bypass the opt-in and go public with this kind of personalization? An interesting trend to watch, that’s for certain.