LONDON: The advertising industry appears to be stuck in a rut of "creating personal ads that are optimised and served to people in ever more intrusive ways", according to one of the judges of the 2016 Admap Prize, the 25-strong shortlist for which is announced today.

The Prize, sponsored by Kantar, invited essays on the topic of how marketing should adapt to the era of personalisation.

Shortlisted entries came from around the world, with the UK, Ireland, France, Romania, USA, Mexico, Australia, China and Malaysia all represented. The authors' job titles ranged from junior planner to CEO. The full shortlist can be read on the Prize website

Steve Hatch, Regional Director, Facebook UK & Ireland, observed a theme running through the entries – that a focus on personalised ads is eroding the trust consumers have with brands.

"It might pay off in the short term, but in the long run it has the potential to destroy the equity built up over many, many years and many, many millions of pounds of marketing investment," he said.

But the personalisation opportunity is about so much more, he argued. "People don't want personalised ads; they want products and services that are tailored to meet their own needs, products that inspire and excite them; things that just feel that much better because they are based on individual circumstance."

Colin Grimshaw, Publisher and Editor, Admap and Chair of Judges, added that "quite a number of people, even those employed in digital marketing, feel personalisation as practised now is intrusive and creepy – some likening it to the dystopian world depicted in Minority Report, resulting in an inevitable response in ad blocking".

An alternative view, he said, suggested that personalisation can be a positive move for both advertiser and consumer, "but brands need to hand control to the consumer, aligned with more sophisticated targeting through better technology and greater automation".

Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be announced and the winning essays published in a special issue of Admap in June, with the author of the Gold-awarded essay picking up a $5,000 cash prize.

Data sourced from Admap