Instagram ads are the new SkyMall

SkyMall shut in 2015, bringing an end to the era of in-flight magazines for bizarre gadgetry you could pick up as soon as you got off the plane. But its spirit lives on at Instagram, writes Clive Thompson, whose advertising lately specializes in similar fare.

Today I got the "SkyFloat", an iphone/tablet-holding pole that magnetically attaches to metal plates that you affix to ceilings in your house, so you can wander around from room to room, reattaching it wherever you want, y'know, a pole sticking down from your ceiling. As with all good SkyMall products, it's got the gist of an interesting idea here — which is promptly taken, with exhilirating fervor, about fourteen miles past the point of reasonableness.

Clive compiles many similar offers. Instagram stars themselves are noticing too; influencers are doing things like "I bought every weird gadget instagram told me to" posts.

I note that while I only rarely use Facebook and then only for specific planned things, its ads know the sort of thing I like better than anywhere else. It's uncanny. It knows I am weak for a Remarkable 2 tablet, a Grovemade desk and a Barebones satchel and refuses to give up.