Ad Nauseum: Chicago Tribune Reporter Counts Ads in Her Life
Heidi Stevens, of the Chicago Tribune, kept a diary of the"incidental ads"--that is, excluding the persistent barrage of ads where we expect to find them, such as in TV, radio, newspaper and magazines, store signage, and so forth she encountered in one workday. In a 14-hour stretch, there are dozens--and only an hour of TV in the batch. She finds them in public transit, on the backs of supermarket receipts, even attached to a chain-link fence. In other words, marketing messages are creeping in to ever more parts of our lives.
My guess is that her count, if anything, is low. Ads blast at us in elevators, over in-store sound systems, and on and on. Even in toilet stalls.
It seems some marketers believe that the more competition for mindshare, the louder and more obnoxious and more in-your-face they need to be.
Sorry, folks, but this is a failed strategy. When we deliberately or subconsciously tune you out, you don't make any friends by turning up the "botheration quotient." You just get filed in people's mental spam-blocking filters and crossed off the good list.
Advertising has its place, of course--but that place is not every last surface or sound available. Visual and noise pollution do not lead to a long-term happy customer relationship.
I discuss this trend in my latest book, as well as a number of better alternatives; real branding is about relationships, not intrusion. However, I'm not going to name the book, because I don't want you to think this is one of those hidden ads. It's not--it's just a rant.