Bob Hoffman has earned a reputation as “the most provocative man in advertising”. The former agency CEO and creative director, now best known for his blog The Ad Contrarian, doesn’t hold back in his assessment of the advertising and marketing industry.

Once a “slightly ridiculous” sector, it has “become dangerous” with the advent of online tracking and adtech, he told Jon Evans, the host of podcast Uncensored CMO (1 February, available now).

He made a strong case – pointing to a 2017 report that found adtech outfits capture more than 72 million data points on a child before they reach the age of 13.

“That is unconscionable,” he said. “It’s going to lead to nothing but trouble. It’s bizarre. It’s from another world.”

He also shared grave doubts about whether programmatic online advertising even worked. And how honest ad agencies were being about marketing reach.

A typical programmatic ad ends up on 40,000 websites, he said. “So how in the world are you supposed to understand what’s happening … and whether your ad actually appeared there? All you get is reports. You don’t know if the reports are true. It’s impossible to do forensics on 40,000 websites.”

Despite the unrelentingly negative view of the present-day sector, Hoffman remained light and bubbly over the hour – thanks in part to the pacing of Evans’ questions and fun interjections, like: “Is my toilet paper pro-Brexit?”

Hoffman’s view on adtech, in summary? “It’s all bullshit.” Even its biggest proponents might be convinced.