In the Loop

DNA - The Ultimate Marketing Tool

Posted at 10:21 AM on September 28, 2007 by Sanden Totten (4 Comments)

For decades now, advertisers have been laboring in secret underground labs to find ways to read our deepest darkest secrets and use them to sell us crap . . .

Okay, that's not true (as far as I know). But they may be making plans to use our DNA to sell us crap.

Wired's science blog has a post about Microsoft and Google both investing in a start up called 23andMe, Inc. The basic premise is that one day in the not too distant future, companies like this one will offer to read and make sense of our genetic code. Then they'd give us a report with our traits, ancestry and endless advertisements geared specifically to people with our genetic predispositions.

I imagine one day our in-boxes will be flooded with spam that looks like this:

You've got a receding hair gene. Better buy Revivogen now!

Big thighs are in your genes . . . but no one will notice when you wear our jeans!

Hey you with the hemophilia . . . don't take that Aspirin! Try Tylenol instead.

It seems plumbing our personal lives for marketing information is en-vouge right now. One company plans to offer free phone service! The only problem is, to get it, you have to let a computer listen in on your conversations and send you ads related to what you're talking about.

I guess in the future, our privacy will be a commodity we can all cash in on . . . but is that a good thing?

Comments (4)

look at the other side of the coin...lets say you go to the doctor for treatment, the doctor says! i think this perscription will work for you, the next day you die.....

GOSH! i wish i would have taken a dna test to determan what medicine is best fit for me.

Posted by randy | September 28, 2007 11:23 AM

Good point.

In theory, I'm not totally against the idea of doctors reading DNA results . . . it could lead to some pretty useful developments.

But for some reason it just feels weird when it comes to product development and advertising. I wonder if I'm genetically prone to skepticism?

Then again, if they could recommend the biologically perfect facial cleanser given my genes . . . maybe I'd be convinced.


Posted by Sanden Totten | September 28, 2007 11:35 AM

Combine this entry with the one about finding your Google Doopleganger and you start to notice a trend - we're receiving less and less privacy, whether we like it or not, every year. Check out this graph the ACLU put together showing us the history of surveillance. Look what the last 5 years alone gave us! Automobile black boxes, rfid, tivo tracking, Real ID act, the patriot act, etc etc.
As Americans we're allowing our personal freedoms to be taken from us more and more - all under the guise of 'protecting us from terrorists'.
Just a matter of time before all our DNA is sequenced and stored, ready to be recalled when need be. Maybe I need a liver, and because of all this stored info, it just so happens you have a perfectly good match - so come on patriot, give that man your liver!
Oh, wait, we're already headed that way.

Sorry, this might have ended up a bit off topic, but it's one of my hot buttons!

Posted by Jeremy Pavleck | September 28, 2007 11:49 AM

There's a company already sequencing personal genomes in Cambridge, MA. I think it's expensive but it's supposed to be private and have good scientist behind it. I don't remember the name, but they're supposedly the ones to watch.....

Posted by Bud | September 28, 2007 9:39 PM

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