Digital Adbusting

WARNING: This article contains language not suitable for people who don’t like bad/strong language. Stop here if you are sensitive to that.

So I was on Insta minding my own business when the following ad popped up into my scrolling experience (if you can even call it an experience, more boredom than anything else):

In english the spam is saying: “thanks to personalised advertising you discover more of the stuff that excites you”.

I just thought: what the f*cking f*ck. Here is this guy with a horse who - hopefully - really enjoys riding, staring - on a wonderful evening - at his phone, smiling because of the advertising he is staring at? Crazy shit.

Honestly look at the scene. Beautiful nature all around him and all he can think is to check out some advertising? The poor horse is getting restless and even looking away from the phone. The horse is actually smarter than the dude.

Holy shit. We living in a world where animals have a greater aversion to advertising than humans. (Side note: adversion is what the horse has got.)

Anyway, personally not being a fan of personalised ads - btw how did Insta not know this? I decided to do something about it. Fuck, what else am I going to do after my Insta experience was so rudely interrupted by spammy crappy ads?

So I warmed up Photoshop (well actually Penpot for me easier for digital adbusting) and made some changes:

So now the ad reads: “Because of personalised ads you discover nothing of that which excites you”.

And KunstAndersZuSein simply means the art of being different.

Feta is a cheese company that likes nature, outdoors, animals and romantic evenings enjoying the beauty of brilliant sunsets.

So now the guy might actually realise how wonderful the current moment is and not what might happen later or on what he might have missed out on.

To Facebook, Meta and Insta I say: f*ck off. Leave me alone with your crappy shitty spammy disgustingly depressing advertising. Stop shitting into my head, I don’t use Zuckerbergs head as a toilet either, right?

I even made a little video out of it (DaVinci Resolve is great for that). Fun fact: Insta won’t let me upload the video - hahaha ROFL, I guess the original ad is copyrighted material.

Kids, do this at home!

So how can you do this at home? And yes this is something you should definitely be doing at home, at work and in bed!

  1. Screenshot with phone
  2. Shared screenshot with my Signal Notes to Self chat.
  3. Downloaded screenshot onto computer since I have a signal client running on it.
  4. Cropped image to size using Gimp
  5. Warmed up Penpot and 20mins later I had what I wanted (admittedly I did steal the feta logo). Penpot is open source and therefore you can install locally on a server or your PC.
  6. Shared finished product back to phone.
  7. Uploaded finished product to Insta.

So how much did it cost? Nothing. All tools are free in the sense of money, not in the sense of freedom.

How much profit? None but loads of laughs from friends and enemies. I made a lot people smile and that is priceless profit for me.

Oh, yer this article took about 30mins to write or so. I think I spent more time sharing this stuff than actually making it.

Come to think of it, Meta probably spent about as much time coming up with the ad, as I did to piss on it.

F*ck advertising, Love creativity.

[Part of the Taboo Tiles series.]


What I didn’t realise when I originally wrote this article was that the original advertising is advertising for advertising. It is Meta placing an ad that is advertising for Metas advertising.

How does it feel to live in a society that tolerates advertising that promotes advertising?

Postscriptum II

Reader feedback to the original ad:

Beautiful sunset & a randy horse and that plonker is smiling blanking & staring into his phone. Mind you - safety first, he’s wearing his helmet.

Postscriptum III

I also realised later that the ad is actually trying to convince the dude with the horse on a perfect evening, with a brilliant sunset, who has probably completed his ride with his horse that through advertising he will discover an even better experience - playing on the fear of missing out.

Advertising will show him a better life than his current one.

Postscriptum IV

Meta probably spent a lot longer on the ad than I did to bust it. They had to pay for the photo or even make it themselves, paying some photographer thousands of dollars.

Creating a team to come up with a slogan, have some manager sign off on that slogan, then have a retrospective meeting to slap each other on the back feel good about creating destructive, boring, junk which does nothing good for society.

Postscriptum V

Looking at the original image, it does look like a lot of Photoshop. The sunset in the background looks fake, the smile on the guys face looks fake, and even the horse seems to be faking it.

And that made me think: it’s a fake image, with a fake message, in a fake world. Hm, there is some commonality there.