PhotoAdWeek has a truly bizarre story about voice-activated personalized advertising on “non-commercial, listener-supported” National Public Radio smartphone apps, and since the story is dated “March 30” this presumably means it is not an April Fools' joke but an actual genuine thing, even though it contains this quote:

NPR …. believes the ads — which will be heard at the end of news items — have captured the imaginations of its tech-savvy audience.

“People have had to wait for their phones to wake up and then tap on their screens to learn more from our sponsors,” said Bryan Moffett, vp of digital strategy and ad operations at National Public Media, an NPR subsidiary. “With these ads, you simply speak. When our test group heard [the call to action] ‘say download now’ or ‘say learn more,’ we universally heard them respond with ‘huh,’ sounding pleasantly surprised.”

Using technology from XappMedia, Moffett plans to charge a CPM rate “north of $20,” he said, for 15-second spots, which include the ability for the consumer to extend the ad with audio or video.

So — working again under the assumption this is a genuine article rather than an April Fool — in the advertising world, or at least the part focusing on NPR listeners, people actually like commercial advertising, to the point where if they see or hear an ad they think “These wonderful sponsors — who are they? How can I learn more? Dammit, smartphone o'mine, hurry and wake the hell up so I can tap you and find out! And if those sponsors' commercial messages can be extended with audio or video, so much the better.”

An online search for more information about this new frontier in personalized advertising on listener-supported non-commercial platforms resulted only in articles or blog posts referencing the original AdWeek piece, so between that and the precariousness of verifying online information on April Fools' Day, those of you who still view advertising as something to tolerate rather than something whose presence should be sought out and expanded in your own everyday lives can still console yourselves with the thought “Maybe this is all an elaborate prank.”


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