Monthly Archives: May 2014

Privacy Invasion or Personalization: Has Digital Marketing Gone Too Far?

Privacy vs Personalization

Privacy Invasion or Personalization: Has Digital Marketing Gone Too Far?

Mark Zuckerberg’s social network just put the face in the Facebook: the company’s new facial-recognition software uses futuristic artificial intelligence to identify faces almost as accurately as humans.

While the A.I. isn’t being used yet, it is stirring up fears about potential invasions of privacy. The hyper-accurate software could one day be used by marketers to track users in public and display targeted ads in the real world, sort of like the holographic spokespeople in Minority Report. If spam annoys you now, imagine having it follow you everywhere.

This is just the latest advance in the ongoing trend of personalization. As technology progresses and we become ever more digitally dependent, marketers are gathering more and more info on consumers, scraping personal data and online history to deliver targeted ads. But is it an unwelcome invasion or valuable marketing tool? Perhaps both.

Privacy vs. Personalization

On the face of it (pardon the pun), targeted ads seem like a win-win.  Consumers see ads that they’re actually interested in (e.g., teenagers probably aren’t considering reverse mortgages, nor will retirees appreciate that Taylor Swift’s new single is now available on iTunes). At the same time, advertising dollars are used more efficiently than ever, raising ROI to unprecedented levels and lowering the barrier of entry for startups and small businesses.

And yet, at the same time, it’s hard not to feel a little creeped out. Gmail reads through all of my personal emails to serve me relevant ads. The reader may be an impersonal algorithm, but it feels like voyeurism all the same. 

The Debate Rages On

In the battle between privacy and personalization, it’s difficult to say who’s winning: Google recently stopped scanning students’ Gmail activity in an attempt to preserve privacy, yet Yahoo just decided to disregard users’ “Do Not Track” settings in the name of personalized experience.

While it seems inevitable that digital markets will continue to encroach on personal data, it’s public debates like this that rein in Google and Facebook from becoming Big Brother.

I believe there’s a middle path. Personalization is a great boon for advertising and enhancing user experience; it seems naïve to think we’ll backpedal at this point. As personal data continues to grow exponentially, digital markets must proceed ethically and strive to honor transparency, privacy, and respect.

Author: Daniel Gordon


National EMS Week 2014

Once again, Vanguard Direct will be a part of your daily routine. The next time you are passing by a phone kiosk a new promotion for National EMS Week will be sure to catch your eye.

Assembling the Pieces

Created by Vittoria Semproni, the project was a fairly quick turnaround.

Semproni said there were two original directions discussed with the Fire Department of New York City for the phone kiosk and smaller poster. Both included the elements of EMTs demonstrating how they bring a person back to life, an electrocardiogram and the FDNY’s new ambulance.  The difference resided in whether or not to place a Manhattan location in the background.

Originally, various images for the posters were taken by the FDNY and sent to VGD. These images were integrated into a number of mock-up posters before being presented to the client. After a modified concept was agreed upon, the FDNY conducted a final photo-shoot and sent the results to VGD. The final poster is pictured below.

EMS Poster 2014

Pictured above are EMTs David Weissman and Elvis Velez as well as Paramedic Jessica DeResto. The poster was unveiled on May 1, 2014. Terranova said the pictured EMS veterans have a combined 54 years of experience.

FDNY EMS Division Chief Rosario Terranova worked with Vanguard on the project. He said, through a series of brainstorming sessions, through “a lot of handholding and really a lot of assistance,” Vanguard Direct and the FDNY were able to create a campaign that celebrates the work of current employees as well as helps recruit prospective applicants.

Off to the Printer 

After Semproni finished the design, it was sent to Cari Frederico. Frederico said she then sent the design off-site to two separate plants. The products were sent back to Vanguard for a last look. Soon after, it was sent to the posting company to be shipped throughout the five boroughs.

The entire process took about ten days, Frederico said.

10 Years in the Making

But this poster was not Vanguard Direct’s first encounter with the FDNY.

Director of Creative Services, Kevin Green, said Vanguard Direct had worked with the FDNY to design and print various projects. However, the FDNY had designed their campaigns internally prior to the 2013 EMS Week Poster.

Due to the relationship going back almost a decade, Terranova said VGD was their first call.

While the FDNY had concepts and general ideas for the poster, they were not fully equipped at the time to turn it into reality, said Terranova.  He then explained how the FDNY came to Vanguard at the “11th hour” last year and were so happy with the results that they immediately chose VGD again for this campaign. The 2013 poster is pictured to the below.

2013 EMS Poster

The EMTs pictured above were 2013 EMS Academy graduates Jennifer Banegas, Kahmil Garcia, Stacie Miller and Jose Vargas.

Green said an estimated 2 to 2.5 million people in New York City saw the poster during its 3-month shelf life. One can expect this year’s poster to have similar public approval.

Past and Present

“This one I think is better in telling their story – last year was more exciting,” said Green.

He also said the 2014 poster demonstrated that EMS has people who are expertly trained to take care of your life, while the 2013 poster showed that there is an army of people ready taking care of your health.

Terranova said he could not be happier with this year’s campaign and Vanguard Direct overall.

Keep your eyes open for the poster! It will be displayed in more than 300 locations throughout Manhattan.

Author: Jaclyn Saumell