What are Ubiquitous Marketing and Black Ops Advertising and Their Impact

What are Ubiquitous Marketing and Black Ops Advertising

In this age of Smartphones and Internet, it is hard not to notice ads and marketing mailers whenever we are online. From the web pages that want to send us notifications to alert us to breaking news and promotional mailers to the spam mail that routinely fills our inboxes, marketing and advertising seems to be everywhere.

In this context, the terms Ubiquitous Marketing and Black Ops Advertising are used to describe how promotional mailers are all pervasive and where ads are so intrusive and annoying that one wants to completely banish them from our devices.

However, the fact that this is easier said than done is apparent when one realizes that there is nowhere to hide from the onslaught of marketing and advertising messages.

Indeed, with Big Data and AI (Artificial Intelligence) powered algorithmic advertising and marketing, the increasing personalization of such ads and marketing mailers seem to be that the marketers and the advertisers know more about us than we know about ourselves.

Leaving aside the ethical and moral implications of such marketing and advertising, it is the case that the pervasive nature of such practices needs to be understood before we can discuss the former.

All Pervasive Marketing and Intrusive Advertising

There are many reasons why marketing and advertising have become all pervasive and all encompassing. Falling profits and diminishing returns from traditional outlets of marketing and advertising is one of them.

The other reason is that the internet and the Smartphone represent a fertile medium for harvesting the attention of users since their addictive nature means that it is very easy for marketers and advertisers to lure consumers to click on the messages and in some cases purchase the products.

Indeed, the fact that in the contemporary Digital Age, we are all addicted to our devices means that marketers have at last found a medium that perfectly suits their goals.

Moreover, with abundant data about ourselves available for free online, marketers and advertisers can mine the gold field of such data to discern patterns about consumer behavior and target the consumers accordingly.

In the Digital Age, Data is the New Oil and hence, it is as valuable and as precious as oil was and is to the Industrial Age.

No wonder that we keep hearing stories about how Facebook profits from our personal data and how Aadhar (the biometric data collected by the Indian Government) represents another source of potentially lucrative data for the marketers.

How Big Firms Actualize Such Strategies

Talking about Facebook, the Black Ops Advertising is not restricted to this firm alone. Amazon was the pioneer in terms of using Big Data and AI for consumer recommendations. Indeed, Amazon has perfected the art of Ubiquitous Marketing so much that any visit to its website after a few times makes one feel as though one has been there for a long time.

Further, Google with its Search Engine and targeted advertising is another firm that realized the power of online marketing and advertising.

Similarly, there are countless advertisers and marketers that carpet bomb the consumers with pervasive advertising wherein despite blocking as many messages and marking as many mails as Spam, we are still receive countless others.

In addition, the strategies of online marketing and advertising firms seems to be becoming more relentless in terms of the sheer power that they have at their disposal to target consumers.

Moreover, the intrusive ads that appear on everything from YouTube Videos to Facebook Pages to Algorithmic Driven News Feeds means that we are never more than a click away from ads and marketing messages tailored to our profiles.

The Ethical, Social, and Moral Concerns

We have mentioned the ethical and moral concerns of such practices earlier. Simply put such all pervasive and ever intrusive advertising and marketing borders on the unethical at times especially when such ads and marketing messages force us to click on them or compel us to buy goods and services that we do not need.

What is more worrying is that increasingly, children seem to be being targeted which points to some serious concerns in this regard.

While there are choices and options to ignore or migrate and upgrade to ad free websites and apps, the fact remains that not everyone can afford such services.

Talking about affordability, it is also the case that the poor and the vulnerable can easily fall into the trap of such advertising and marketing which has societal implications as well.

Thus, it is clear that there are enough reasons for regulators to step in and limit the strategies and activities of the marketers.

Indeed, we believe that it is high time the marketing and advertising industry is regulated and it either embraces a voluntary code of conduct or is forced to change its practices. This would be in the larger interest of society.


Lastly, anyone who has read the seminal book on marketing by Kotler would realize that marketing has a social responsibility and hence, with or without regulation, there has to be some line that should not be crossed as far as such practices are concerned.

While it might be tempting for consumers to be addicted to such marketing and for marketers to reap profits, the longer term impacts must not be ignored.

To conclude, the Digital Age is full of perils for both marketers and consumers and hence, what we need is a new Social Contract in the same manner in which the Industrial Age learnt to balance the interests of different stakeholders.

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