November 4, 2015

Making Brands (and Ads) Personal with Adictik

The personalization of branded content has gotten, well, a little bit more personal. In an age where consumers are increasingly buying products to construct an identity or find public validation, Adictik (a Barcelona-based startup), is hoping to make money off of the unwavering phenomenon some call “brand loyalty”. Shady? Maybe. Innovative? Definitely. Let’s be real, if just for a moment. Not everything about sharing personalized branded content is bad. As written on TechCrunch in their recent review of the app, Adictik allows users to create ads for their favorite brands. In fact, in a time when personalizing content is essential for driving conversion rates, the app has aptly made the reverse occur by allowing users to instead convert their consumerism into shareable content. I gave it a go myself: One could say that one of the app’s functions is to encourage brand loyalty. By using already made branded content, the app encourages its users to find creative ways to show how certain brands–logos and phrases, in particular–shape their lives. However, it’s the result that is astonishing. As you scroll down the app’s feed, you are confronted with a stream of new images that resemble, if not slightly then rather uncannily, the original branded content used.   Oftentimes, a post like the one above will look as though it were an official advertisement for the chosen brand. It’s in those moments that you might actually find yourself thinking, “Hey, some of these have got to be sponsored ads!” And yet, they are not. They are user-generated social posts that simply use branded logos and catch phrases as one would use a hashtag. Therefore, in using the app to share personalized branded content, the user isn’t sharing branded content in an advertorial sense in order to bolster their brand loyalty or drive product sales. Instead, through customization and thus personalization, the Adictik user has actually made this branded content theirs to share. In effect, Adictik users are able to advertise their own lives as they would a brand. And although the same could be said for Instagram, something about Adictik makes the comparison between brand and consumer a bit more transparent. One could say that Adictik makes competing with other consumers over who has the most brand loyalty easy and fun, and that part of this gamification is getting to choose the branded content you want to include in your personal posts. Yet, what some see as loyalty could actually be the obsessive and compulsive behaviors of the competitive, capitalist consumer. I would go so far as to argue that the app is really hyperbolizing the compulsive tendencies of capitalist consumers for all to see and share, making it quite a parody of the lives we currently lead. This post was written by current Renegade intern Sam Oriach. You can follow him on Twitter @samoriach.