Cookies have long been criticized as invasive tracking devices, collecting data on people’s internet behavior without their consent. So if you're asked to "accept cookies" online, as an adult you might think twice. But as kid, nothing could seem more appealing.
That's the insight behind a new plug-in developed by London agency Forever Beta, that renames digital "cookies" as "data collectors" in order to highlight concerns over kids' online data. The idea originated from a conversation between Forever Beta Chief Creative Officer Paulo Areas and his young daughter about "cookies," which made him realize why something as serious as data collection has such a delicious name.
Following some more research into the emotional connotation that the word "cookies" brings to a kid, the agency developed a Chrome extension that automatically changes ‘"cookies" to "data collectors" across all websites. The plug-in can be downloaded by businesses through the "Don’t call it Cookie" microsite.
Forever Beta is approaching websites that target children to push them to make the switch and is also petitioning the U.K. government to stop the use of the word "cookies" in data capture. It's highlighting the campaign with an online video, seen here, created with appropriately-named London animators Cookie Studio featuring original sound composed by Canja Audio Culture in Brazil.
“We all leave a digital footprint behind us when we go online, but as adults, we are responsible for our acts and decisions," said Areas in a statement. "Children, on the other hand, shouldn't be misled into giving up their data without fully understanding the impact it will bring on their lives. Through this campaign we are aiming to empower the next generation to make informed decisions about who they share their data with online, and restore the word ‘cookies’ to its original chocolatey goodness."
The campaign comes as Google is experimenting with targeting techniques in order to phase out third-party cookies by late 2023. The U.K. government has also recently launched an online advertising consultation, which noted that “respondents reported there was a lack of transparency in the online advertising ecosystem” and that “concerns regarding unethical targeting were highlighted by respondents who felt that online advertising felt overly personal and invasive."