Where is the line between Creepy and Creative in Advertising/ Marketing? 

In the 2010s, millions of facebook users' personal data was collected without their consent through an app called “This is Your Digital Life”. The app consisted of a series of questions to build psychological profiles on users and collected data of up to 87 million users through Facebook’s Open Graph Platform. The data was used by Cambridge Analytica to provide assistance to the 2016 US presidential campaigns. Facebook was fined $5 billion for the violation of privacy in July 2019, and in 2018 Cambridge Analytica Filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This scandal brought the unethical use of data into the spotlight. This caused a loss of trust of a huge amount of the public and marketers have been struggling ever since to regain that trust. 

Once you’ve exposed yourself to the internet, it is pretty common to be handing over your datas to brands on a daily basis. Even when you have explicitly consented to your data being used, it does grab your attention if it is being done poorly. There are limits to using the datas that someone has shared with you. The idea of limits may differ from person to person. What one might find totally appealing might raise concern to the other person. So the major question here is How do you find the line between Creepy and Creative?

When your data is being used without being given consent to, that’s when customers start finding it creepy. This unethical behaviour can even lead to legal actions. Different fitness apps were exposed for using customers' information in a harmful way. They have been under fire for using their leads to body-shame their customers by suggesting that they need to buy their weight loss products. It is true that it is us who provide our personal details like weight, health conditions etc to these apps, but the marketing could have been done in a more subtle and respectable manner. Adding more to it, several brands are found to be making assumptions based on the personal data provided to them. Assuming your interests based on stereotypical beliefs can be considered creepy. For instance, don’t assume that boys like cars and girls like dolls. And finally, it gives you the chills  when some brands are basically stalking you. When they ask for your every information that clearly doesn't sound relevant to the brand. 

Every brand wants to enjoy a friendly relationship with their customers. If your marketing actions aren't based on trust, consent and reciprocal value exchange, then you may be more of a creeper than a friend. The brand Svedka Vodka used a data-driven approach to make creepy Halloween ads that follow you around. Video banner ads start hunting you around after you click on a post for cocktail recipes. Despite the fact that they had the opportunity, they chose not to use the data. An ad is creative when it adds value to its customer, is authentic and relevant. A creative marketing practice might pay off in the form of a long-lasting brand/customer connection.