Cell phones: they had such promise. Such wondrous potential. How have we, wretched humanity, squandered that potential? By turning cell phones into predatory ad-delivery systems. Corporations are literally stalking you, by cell phone. And you asked for it!

Today in Bold Glimpses of Our Hellish Corporate Future, North Face has a great new way to alert savvy consumers like you to their newest deals. When you set foot within a half-mile perimeter of their stores, the company sends you a text message ad, straight to your cell phone.

"You say, ‘This is a brand I care about,' and then you go about your day and your phone tells you when something is interesting," said Alistair Goodman, chief executive of Placecast.

Here, "interesting" is defined as "you are within 2000 feet of a North Face retail outlet." The most obvious effect of these ads would be to make consumers terrified of their own phones, and to make consumers avoid North Face retail outlets like the plague, lest they be zapped with another god damn text ad that has to be deleted. But the worst part is that this might not be the effect, because the company is only sending these ads to people who opt in to receive them.

Who are you people?
[NYT. Pic via]