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Untargeted (and Undirected) Advertising

February 20, 2015

Isn’t this a lovely map? I call it an Ad-Map, and I sometimes use them to get about a strange town. Businesses pay to be listed, tourists get an orientation.

Tragically, at least for advertisers and tourists, maps such as this are of little use. Advertisers in each category are listed in seemingly random order. Numbers on the map have no order.  Ease of use is all for the cartologist. Alphabetical? Too much work. Ordered by location? Ditto.

Entropy

Unordered numbers on the map match an unordered list of advertisers in the legend.

My top use case is not supported by this map:

I’m hungry, I find an Indian restaurant listed, and now I want to go there.

I stare at every number on every street on the map until I find my goal. It takes several passes, because I am past the age of Where’s Waldo virtuosity.

My second use case is even more poorly supported, because I not only search for the number on the map, I search for the name in the legend:

I want to go to the Police Museum.

Somewhat better supported:

I’m at the corner of Cross and Columbia, and I want the nearest coffee.

In this case, I  match the nearby numbers to the legend until I find my goal.

Not very well supported:

I’m a business, and I want tourists to find me. 

A little more thought to how the content is used would have produced much more effective advertising. As it stands, the message and the user are both mostly lost.

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One Comment
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