On page 51 of the current issue of FC, we talk about advertising that’s moved beyond traditional media and into the urinal, the airport and the parking lot.
Now we can add to that list. An article today from the AP says US Airways is going to begin advertising on its barf bags. And CBS will start advertising its programs on eggshells using new laser technology.
I’m conflicted. On the one hand, this seems like a good idea. In our June Open Debate, Brian Collins talks about how people respond “ever more powerfully to real experiences.” Surely, that’s what this unanticipated advertising is going for. Saturday morning, you’re making your omelet, and there are a dozen chances for you to see what CBS has lined up for the season. Or in the case of the airport advertising, where strips are placed vertically by electrical outlets, you’ll probably tilt your head to the side to read the ad as you’re plugging in your laptop.
On the other hand, it seems that these ideas presume that we’re paying close enough attention to everything around us so that we will be affected by these new advertising strategies. We’re bombarded with marketing and information of every kind all day. When do our minds simply shut down and label all incoming advertising messages spam? The egg shell article cheers for the intrusiveness of the new tactic. When do advertisers and their agencies cross the line from innovative to ill conceived or invasive?