Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

That's pretty cool but I feel like they're mixing up ads and brands. Like I expected a real life adblock to say, blur actual advertisements in a magazine or billboard. Instead in this video they show it blurring brands like on the soda bottle (which isn't that useful). I'm sure the tech could probably do it but the demo could be better.

I'm one of the members of the team that built this.

Some context about the project: We built this a few days ago at the PennApps hackathon during a period of 48 hours. We originally wanted to try to block out magazine advertisements and billboards, but didn't think we could quite get that working with the time constraints, so we chose to block out logos instead. We called the project Brand Killer.

> We called the project Brand Killer.

Ah neat, that certainly is a lot more fitting of a description.

Do you also block out images of Nicki Minaj? ...because apparently she is also a "brand."

Surely a logo - like on a coffee cup - is an advert for a brand?

I'm not sure I agree. A visible logo/brand being itself an advertisement maybe a side-effect of the logo/brand being prominitantly displayed, but I would argue that it is more identification than advertising.

The difference becomes apparent when considering soda pop bottle versus a high-end dress shirt. The soda-pop bottle is a trivial purchase, and is generally available among many other brands offering the same thing. However, the shirt may be purchased with more effort and care, and is generally available among other clothing from the same brand.

The brand on the bottle offers identification of the individual item during purchase and later during selection for drinking. No matter if it is found in a bin among bottles from other brands, or within a section containing only bottles from one brand. Bottles are also discarded after use, so they are not identified individually, but merely as one of many copies. I have several bottles of soda pop, some Coke some Pepsi. The brand is still very relevant.

A shirt on the other hand is probably accompanied by an entire section of clothing for the same brand, and does not need individual identification. Even more so during selection for use, shirts are generally owned by a single person and cared for individually. I only have one pink broadcloth shirt, and it happens to be from Banana Republic. The brand is not as relevant.


You're right. That was actually a bad example, I admit. A better example would be the bottle of soda that you might see on a store shelf.

I've updated the reply.

The bottle of soda is still an ad. Before brands advertised via their products you'd just get "a bottle of lemonade", it would perhaps have a label on that says "lemonade" [well you'd probably make your own ...] - but the bottle shape and colour, logos, label styling, images are all part of an advert that reinforces a specific brand identity.

Yes, if you want to buy a specific brand you'd need to modify the filter. I'd like it to say pick out the "cheapest lemonade that has lemon in it and no aspartame and scores at least 50% in taste tests" or "the lemonade I drank last time" and just show me that one at my behest!

I'd still like a label that allows me to determine the difference between bottles of mineral water, soda water, tonic water, and lemonade.

The software would just need to add a generic label text like "soda" on top of the blur effect - when it detects the brand, it knows the type already, and it can just do an n-to-1 mapping so that you can buy, say, an orange-flavored soda without seeing which brand you took.

Still, even within type there's great variance. Coke and Pepsi are both colas, but whereas in the US they taste fairly similar, they're very different here in Australia (our coke is like mexican coke, made with sugar instead of HFCS). The inconvenience of being exposed to branding is overshadowed by the inconvenience of accidentally selecting a product you know you don't like.

Simple advertising like branding on the product itself isn't the problem, anyway. It's usually not intrusive nor irrelevant to what you're doing. If you're looking at the bottle, chances are that you want to do something with it. It's not like you're driving down the road and the bottle forces itself into view like a billboard. It would be better if this form of adblocking could somehow detect if the branding was actually attached to the product and let that through, since it does double duty as branding and identification.

More useful would be an infographic that showed ingredient quality info, sugar/caffeine levels, generic flavor symbol, environmental impact etc.

I'm more amused of the idea of going shopping with this thing.

If you didn't know the shape of the bottle or other characteristics you wouldn't know what the hell you're buying.

Sounds like a fun shopping trip.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact