RE: It's an ad, ad, ad world

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Jul 09 2001 - 12:42:25 BST

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    Subject: RE: It's an ad, ad, ad world
    Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 12:42:25 +0100 
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    Nice story,

    Geez, the Globe's a pretty good paper isn't it.

    Of course all these desparate efforts from advertisers to gain our attention
    is simply more evidence that advertising doesn't work the way they'd like to
    believe it does.


    > ----------
    > From: Wade T.Smith
    > Reply To:
    > Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2001 2:51 pm
    > To: Memetics Discussion List
    > Subject: Fwd: It's an ad, ad, ad world
    > It's an ad, ad, ad world
    > By Marcella Bombardieri, Globe Staff, 7/8/2001
    > Is nowhere safe?
    > That's the question Arthur MacNeil was pondering after his dinner of
    > shrimp with lobster sauce last week, when a fortune cookie packed more
    > than the usual sage advice.
    > But first things first. Before he even sat down with the shrimp, MacNeil
    > was already fatigued by the daily visual assaults of the urban landscape.
    > After all, he lives in Charles River Park, the building that proclaims to
    > drivers idling in Storrow Drive traffic, ''If you lived here, you'd be
    > home now.''
    > The construction manager, 44, was hoping to be soothed by a day trip to
    > New Hampshire on the Fourth of July, a ramble with lots of trees and no
    > billboards.
    > But when he stopped for gas at a Shell station in Londonderry, a little
    > video monitor on the pump flashed at him, inviting him inside the market
    > to buy the National Enquirer.
    > On his way home, MacNeil whizzed by countless cars signed up to use Fast
    > Lane to pay tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike and Tobin Bridge. In each
    > car, affixed to the windshield, was the transponder bearing the logo for
    > Fleet bank, forever superimposed over the passing landscape.
    > Then, Thursday night, MacNeil and his ''other half,'' Janet Daly, went
    > for dinner at their favorite Chinese restaurant, Great Chow in Quincy.
    > When the two cracked open their fortune cookies, Daly's had an extra
    > surprise: an ad on one side for a dot-com. ''Save a FORTUNE ... at
    >!'' it proclaimed in tiny black print.
    > ''I think it's a little much,'' MacNeil complained. ''Less is more.''
    > Oh, but the ad execs will beg to differ.
    > That's why Boston will soon see 342 new pieces of ''street furniture,''
    > including public toilets, all free of cost for the city thanks to the
    > commercial posters they'll sport.
    > Those poster advertisements are fairly traditional in form, even if the
    > toilets and bus shelters they will adorn are not. But as they coincide
    > with the new fortune-cookies-cum-ad-space, many Bostonians are wondering:
    > Is there any frontier left in marketing?
    > Buy a navel orange and the little sticker on it may tell you about the
    > video release of ''How the Grinch Stole Christmas.''
    > Ask for a receipt at a turnpike toll booth, and you're liable to get a
    > coupon for the Beantown Whale Watch.
    > Step into an elevator at the Prudential, the video screen will share with
    > you a Dunkin' Donuts ad along with the weather report.
    > Then there's the highway genre. MBTA buses and Green Line cars are
    > shrink-wrapped in gargantuan vinyl advertisements for or
    > American Express Blue.
    > There are companies who will pay you several hundred dollars a month to
    > do the same thing to your own car. And Republican lawmakers last month
    > introduced bills aimed at allowing Massachusetts school committees to
    > sell ad space on the sides of school buses.
    > Have you heard about the entrepreneur who presses Skippy Peanut Butter
    > and Snapple ads into the sand of New Jersey beaches? Or the new animated
    > Coca-Cola ads running this summer in the tunnels of the Atlanta subway
    > system? What about the company now negotiating to digitally place extra
    > products into reruns of ''Law and Order''?
    > Most of us don't even blink anymore when we see, say, an ad for Midori
    > liqueur in the bathroom stall of a bar. But they are signs, quite
    > literally, of our media-saturated times, when an undivided bit of a
    > consumer's attention span is a precious commodity.
    > InSite Advertising Inc., a company that places such restroom ads, says it
    > bluntly on its Web page: ''We Own Space That Is Hard To Avoid and
    > Impossible to Ignore.''
    > Or, says Paul Slagle, vice president for sales and marketing at Princeton
    > Video Image, the company behind the ''Law and Order'' product placement
    > idea, ''People are recognizing we are living in a branded world these
    > days. To pretend otherwise is kind of disingenuous.''
    > Even some of the minds behind these ''guerrilla'' or ''ambient''
    > advertising concepts see a downside to the branded world.
    > ''It's kind of unfortunate that you really do see ads everywhere you
    > look, and now it's going to be in your fortune cookie,'' said James Wong,
    > database manager of Brooklyn-based Wonton Food Inc.
    > approached Wonton Foods with the idea, seeking a sure-fire
    > attention-grabber. There's been a few snags with some diners, perhaps too
    > stuffed to read the small print (''Go to to Save $5''),
    > demanding $5 off their meal.
    > But the two companies are retooling the text, and plan to soon produce a
    > million fortune cookies a day with the message. And Wong said Wonton Food
    > is eager to make deals with other advertisers.
    > Not even a commercial fortune cookie message surprises Kalle Lasn, editor
    > of Adbusters magazine, a slick anticorporate journal. Lasn said that
    > every year he sees more encroachment of advertising in new arenas.
    > ''There are 3,000 marketing messages a day seeping into the average North
    > American brain,'' Lasn said. ''That's what I call a toxic culture.
    > ''We've all been caught in a kind of postmodern hall of mirrors,'' he
    > said.
    > ''Nature gave us a lot of quiet. But in our electronic generation, things
    > are very cluttered, very full. Our peace is really being taken away from
    > us.''
    > But the question remains if most Americans actually mind finding
    > marketing messages on their food or in the sand between their toes.
    > Perhaps they prefer having a diversion to being left to their own
    > thoughts.
    > Captivate Network Inc., of Westford, points to a study giving their
    > elevator monitors a 94 percent approval rating.
    > ''If you think of the competition of staring at your screen or staring at
    > your watch, it makes the ride a lot more enjoyable,'' said Captivate
    > spokeswoman Suzanne Griffin.
    > Back at Great Chow in Quincy, Daly disagreed with her naysaying ''other
    > half'' about the fortune ad. ''I think it's clever and cute,'' she said.
    > ''It's a distraction. The whole point of a fortune cookie is a
    > distraction, right?''
    > Lasn, the Adbusters editor, allows that you can't blame the advertisers
    > for doing anything they can to get noticed. It would take a grass-roots
    > movement, he said, to demand a scaling back of the media onslaught.
    > In the meantime, it's a free-for-all.
    > ''Why should I have any regrets?'' said Irv Weinhaus, president of the
    > California-based The Fruit Label Co., which has hyped movies, TV
    > networks, and Web sites on little stickers attached to apples and
    > bananas. ''I'm making a lot of money. I'm not doing anything illegal,
    > immoral, or fattening. We're having fun with it.''
    > This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 7/8/2001. Copyright
    > 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.
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