If advertisers are upset enough over users blocking ads on their computers that they are threatening to sue in France, just imagine the kittens they'll be having when they learn of a real-world equivalent.
A team of hackers have cobbled together a concept design for a heads up display which would prevent a user from seeing any brands on packaging, signs, or advertising.
The device was developed during last week's Penn Apps Hackathon, and it works by first identifying brands based on a database of stored images and then applying a blur to the user's view so that the brand is unrecognizable.
Or at least that is how it is supposed to work; as you can see in the video below many of the test items still show enough detail that the brand can be identified. Some of the brands can even be recognized through the blur.
To be fair, this was pulled together over a 3 day period and it was really only intended to show what was possible. Which it does.
Add in a lot more R&D and we could end up with filters which would keep us from seeing any obvious type of visual branding (and if you don't mind wearing earbuds for the rest of your life, audio branding can also be filtered).
But will anyone really want to use them?
It's one thing to block out annoying ads when you're online, but filtering brands in real life is another matter. I use Adblock Plus because I want to avoid seeing intrusive, annoying, and potentially unsafe ads, some of which also show recognizable brands. I block the ads because they're intrusive, not because I don't want to see brands.
The branding isn't the issue; it's the intrusiveness that bothers me. And coming up with a real world solution for that is much more difficult and of a questionable value.