“Personalized Ads, Just for You,” by Ruyi Wen

Nov 11th, 2020 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Hi, potential customer! Based on your previous purchase of our LightTouch voice-activated lighting control panel, we thought you might be interested in our new smart home security system, the PrivaSee Cam 3.0. You’ll sleep soundly at night knowing that at the first sign of a package thief, teenaged child sneaking in after curfew, or moth flying too close to the camera, the PrivaSee Cam 3.0 will blast a 110-decibel warning siren to scare off the intruder. Just look at this photo of a model smiling and looking well-rested in the general vicinity of our product. It’s merely a happy coincidence that the model looks like you, but more attractive. We definitely didn’t make this ad with sixteen different models and show you the one we thought you [non-Hispanic white, female, age 25-49] would find most relatable.

Hi again! We noticed you didn’t buy our product after seeing our ad the first time. That’s okay. Your browsing history shows that you average 7.6 ad impressions before purchasing a new product, so you probably just need to see your model doppelgänger basking in the watchful gaze of our PrivaSee Cam 3.0 a few more times. FYI: our amazing PrivaSee Cam 3.0 has been liked by 12,731 satisfied customers on Instagram, including at least one of your friends, heathercliff89, who gave us an enthusiastic five-star review.

Hey there, Jennifer. Are you still doubting whether you need our PrivaSee Cam 3.0? We see you used your LightTouch to turn off the living room lights between 9:08pm and 10:43pm last night to watch Home Alone, so you’re now well aware of the dangers of home invasion. Did you know that fifteen houses in your zip code have been burglarized in the past year, including your pal heathercliff89? Don’t be number sixteen. Purchase a PrivaSee Cam 3.0 today.

Jennifer V. Clark: our records show you still have not purchased a PrivaSee Cam 3.0. Your LightTouch data says that yesterday, you had a phone conversation with heathercliff89, whom our speech analytics algorithm predicts is your sister-in-law (with 61% probability), cousin (27%), or other relationship (12%). You told Heather that recently, you’ve been getting the vague, unsettling feeling that someone is in your house, spying on you. To which Heather nervously replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about! I love my LightTouch and PrivaSee! They’re not spying on you at all!”

But don’t just take Heather’s word for it. Why not get your own PrivaSee Cam 3.0, which will upload 24/7 video of your personal space onto our 100% secure, totally unhackable, definitely-no-encryption-backdoor-access-for-national-security-purposes-we-pinkie-swear cloud server? Then you can check the footage for yourself to verify that no one is in your house except you and our wonderful home automation products?

Wait a second, you say. Doesn’t the LightTouch only activate audio recording after you say its name, “Lumie”? And you don’t remember consenting to your LightTouch voice logs being used for marketing purposes this way? The answer is yes. But shortly before you called Heather, you had sneezed, and your “achoo” sounds a lot like “Lumie, dim my microwave oven light” to our overzealous voice recognition program. At that point, the LightTouch turned on, listened to the entirety of your 27-minute-39-second call with Heather and waited until you hopped in the shower before responding, “Sorry, I didn’t understand that.”

Look, Jennifer, we both know how this is going to go down. We can do an omni-channel digital media blast, spamming you with personalized ads until you have nightmares in which a giant PrivaSee Cam 3.0 camera with spider legs is chasing you down a metal hallway while your teeth fall out. But how about we find a solution where you get to sleep in peace, and we get to skip the $2.37 in customer acquisition costs for those ad buys?

We’ll ship a PrivaSee Cam 3.0 to 3718 Magnolia Lane in the next 3-5 business days. Based on your LightTouch geolocation data, we know that’s where you live, or at least where you turn all the lights off and lie down in the dark between 11:15pm and 6:30am every night. We’ll even throw in a free PrivaSee Cam Mini for your bedroom so you can let our team of home surveillance experts watch you in your sleep—to monitor your safety, of course. Whenever you’re ready, just let us know your credit card security code is 368 and we can finalize this purchase.

We’re so confident you’ll love our PrivaSee Cam 3.0, we’ve even drafted an enthusiastic five-star review that sums up your delight with our product. It’s already filled out on this “Leave feedback” page. All you have to do is submit.


Ruyi Wen’s work can be found in Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Queen Mob’s Teahouse and elsewhere if you look hard enough. She is occasionally a robot, according to captchas.

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