Willful Words and Pretty Pictures

Ra Cohen
Willful Words and Pretty Pictures
Photo by Fernando Lavin on Unsplash

About Me

I tried to backpeddle. "No one is personally listening in to your conversations, grandma, it was an analogy." Explaining my new job to my grandmother was not going well. Bemoaning the evils of modern Ad Tech by highlighting how coporations were tracking her around the web may not have been the wisest approach. Knowing that my grandmother is an avid online shopper, I tried another tact, "You know how when you're reading the news, you get those big flashy banners for stuff you already looked at and decided to not buy?" "Oh, I see those all of the time!" Progress. "Yeah! They're big and flashy and purposefully annoying in order to distract you? My company is an advertising network that connects developer-focused publishers," "Developers?" Right, to my grandmother a developer worked in real estate. "Coders, like me - we connect techy publishers with relevant, respectful ads for products that actually work. And we do it without storing any information about you or what you were looking at!" My enthusiasm was met with silence and I was worried that I'd lost her again, "Grandma?" Hesitantly she spoke, "But does it work? Honey, my dad always said the louder the soap salesman, the more soap he'll sell." She then told me a story of her father, my great-grandfather, who was in fact a soap salesman himself.

One morning in the summer of 1938, my great-grandfather was out for a walk by the river early and he noticed people washing their clothing in the river without bar soap. He decided then and there to tap that market and would go down on his walk every morning with a box full of soap to sell. Selling by the river early in the morning before the factory opened worked incredibly well, until other soap vendors realized the simplistic brilliance of his approach. Soon my great-grandfather was in competition and learned that he had to get creative with drawing attention. My grandmother cautioned me, "The loud, charismatic vendor inevitably sells more soap than the quiet, reserved one." Oy. This is the mindset that has been shaping advertising for the past 100 years; this is how we have arrived at the current state of the internet, almost unbrowsable without an ad-blocker thanks to pop-ups, banner ads, and booby-trapped x's. At least, we were getting somewhere. She definitely understood that our publishers were our river and that we are the soap-sellers, but how do I explain ad-blockers? So I asked my grandma "What if yelling was out-lawed?" "Make yelling illegal?" she repeated incredulously. I told her a little bit about how ad-blockers worked, mildly surprised that I hadn't already set her up with one when I set up her laptop, and explained that EthicalAds gets around ad-blockers because our ads are quiet and reserved. "Hmmm..." After careful consideration, she made up her mind.

"You have your foot in the door, not a seat at the table. Have you considered making your ads ~beautiful~?"

I'm Ra Cohen: data scientist, people person, and the latest addition to the EthicalAds team. Using pretty pictures, willful words, and data science, I'm on a mission to help people reach their audience and tell their story.

Pretty Pictures

As a data scientist, I know just how much impact framing and perspective can have on impressions. A graph zoomed in around all of the action will tell a very different, more turbulent story than the same data presented on a graph with its origin at 0. My design philosophy draws from the Data-Ink ratio principle. The less ink you can use over all, the better, and that ink which you do use should be fundamental to conveying your data. I'm excited to apply my eye for artistry not only in illuminating the beauty of data, but also to illustrate the beauty of advertising. Beauty captures our attention like nothing else, stirring us to action with the promise of a better tomorrow. Is that not also the goal of advertising? To reincarnate Helen of Troy into the image that launches a thousand clicks?

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but context can make it worth a million.

Willful Words

Good writing is the intersection of clarity and purpose. Conveying information and motivating one's audience are best accomplished by the willful word, a word mindfully chosen to perform work and left free of clutter. Due to the brevity of advertising, the creatively willful word thrives. The attention of your reader is valuable and respected. We are happy to assist in the creation of your advertising copy upon request. Your time is valuable too, so I endeavor to keep all emails to the point as I assist with advertiser and publisher account management.

I am also happy to schedule a phone call to discuss your data.

Data Science

Like all science, the first step to data science is to ask a question. Are you a publisher who wants help understanding how our latest updates affected your profits? Or do you want to compare your data over a few ad placement spots in order to maximise your click through rates? Perhaps you're an advertiser who wants to know how changing your targeting will affect your total number of impressions. Send us an email; I breathe data! In school, I took courses in our data science graduate program to fulfil my undergrad computer science requirements. After graduation, I went to work as a research scientsit for two years where I built visualization dashboard prototypes for DARPA. I'm glad to now be working at EthicalAds, shaping the future of advertising for a more respectful, beautiful future.

As always, we are thrilled to have you along with us on our journey to build an ethical ad network. Please email us if you have any ideas or feedback on our product or roadmap, we always love to hear from you.

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