This has NOT been a recording.

When you fill up your car, there’s often a tv monitor at the pump with ads on it now. Elevators have monitors in them with ads. Any of the interstices of life where you’re stuck somewhere for a minute, someone is trying to get an ad in there. Ted Turner likes the gas pump ads and he likes the idea of supermarket line ads too; can’t get away there.

Blame Chris Whittle. In the 80s, he saw the power of imprisonment. He invented a whole set of publications that were available for free to doctors’ offices, hair salons, car repair joints, anywhere people were stuck. The only condition of receiving these magazines was that you had no others available; his was a jealous God. Later, he invented Channel One, the free news television provided to schools only if they forced all the students to watch it, including all the ads.

Channel One still exists, although Whittle Publication is gone. But everywhere there’s an ad. TiVo recently began putting ads on when you hit fast forward or reverse. A couple of years ago someone patented the idea of putting ads in the tone you hear when calling someone and their phone is ringing. The next natural step there, of course, would be making the ad happen if they were ready to answer the phone, or charging you for ad-free phones.

What’s next? Seriously, where do you think the ads will go next? Someplace you can’t avoid it…

32 thoughts on “This has NOT been a recording.

    1. not sure what it’s like in the women’s room, but in men’s restrooms the “Swisher” people have the “Sanitized by Swisher” things in the urinals that you end up staring at. For years they said “Say no to drugs” on them, but now they say “A publically traded company”.

      1. i tend to only use public restrooms when there is no way to avoid it, and most of the places i’ve been in have had some sort of artwork on the inside of the stall door. or calendars of events that month at whatever bar i’m at. or just good old graffiti.

      2. A lot of clubs have LCD monitors bolted into the walls above the urinals (where the sports page or whatever would have been taped to the wall) playing “informational” things like the weather forecast sandwiched between a half-dozen ads.

    2. Already done. Lots of public men’s restrooms around Vancouver have ad space rented out right smack in front of each urinal, so your nose is pressed right up against the glass while you piss.
      Coincidentally, they also seem to be frequent targets for vandalism. Surprise!

  1. Here in the UK, there are ads in more places than in Australia. I was surprised/dismayed to find that many live music venues in London have advertising billboards alongside the stage trying to flog Grand Theft Auto or the latest Clear Channel-approved MOR album.
    Speaking of which, it appears that a big chunk of live music in the UK is owned either by Coors subsidiary Carling (who own many of the higher-profile venues) or by Clear Channel.

  2. Anyway, I predict that the next thing after Digital Rights Management will be Attention Rights Management. I.e., under pressure from corporate interests, lawmakers will recognise that there is an implicit contractual obligation by consumers to view and pay attention to advertisements attached to any service they receive. At first, this will be used to ban, DMCA-fashion, ad-blocking software. Then, it will become more subtle; browser windows will go dark if the ad panes are covered by another window, for example. Thre technology of denying benefit to ad-dodgers will attract as much venture capital, startups, patents and snake-oil merchants as the quest for the perfect uncopyable CD has. Ultimately, computers and TVs (which, by then, will have converged, possibly on a centralised broadcast model) will have gaze-tracking cameras as standard, and Microsoft Windows 2012 or whatever will have a gaze-tracking API specificially designed to be useful for ad attention enforcement.

    1. and of course the “gaze-tacking cameras” will be an integral part of the TV. If they can track gaze location, their will probably be some type of function that could be marketed as “control your TV with your eyes!”. Where of course in reality it will be the other way around.

    2. That battle is already joined here. There’s been legal action trying to stop consumers from automatically fast-forwarding through ads, with attempts to get Congress to pass a law forbidding it.

      1. Ad evasion is equivalent to intellectual-property piracy (is equivalent to currency counterfeiting, is equivalent to economic terrorism). If consumers can skip ads, then the terrorists will have won.

  3. – Projected from street lights — a win for companies seeking association with nightlife, like Bacardi, or safety, like Met Life.
    – Special editions of dollar bills. “Wal-mart celebrates small-town America”.
    – Between the yellow and green traffic light. “Enjoy Sprite”.
    – In church — tasteful, like PBS. “This sermon was made possible by a grant from FOX News Corporation”.
    – On other advertisements.

  4. Let’s think BIG. Why not escape the whole swaying-consumers paradigm altogether. Why can’t corporations pay the state directly for monopoly rights again?
    I mean, let’s face it, most shampoos are pretty much the same, and the primary school could use some plumbing work.

    1. Already happened down here. Entire school districts and colleges are “owned” by a sponsor, usually someone like Pepsi, who has both the exclusive on selling their product on campus and ads everywhere. Beaches, too.

      1. The End
        I knew it was the end of the civilization when I drove by my high school in like 1993 and there was a huge Warners Brothers logo on it.

      2. Re: The End
        I have to bite. Why does your old high school have a WB logo on it?
        I guess the WB company donated some amount of money to the school.
        Also, if that was the end, what are we in now?
        Syndication!

  5. There are websites I refuse to visit because they force you to watch and ad while the page “loads”.
    Who do they think they’re kidding?
    I hate ads so much that I haven’t watched TV in a year and a half. at all. ever.
    Alternatively, I buy womens magazines (W, Bazaar, etc) Specifically FOR the ads, and visit british advert sites to watch commercials.
    This makes me think maybe it’s not so much the “ads” as the shittastic things that mainstream vendors are trying to hock.
    Or maybe that they try and use that irritating “we’re trying so hard to be hip” thingy.
    If they made the ads entertaining I certainly wouldn’t be AS annoyed.
    I expect to see Ads for GNC MEGAMAN vitamins on an urn at the next funeral I go to.

  6. An ad also already in place, There are mini billboards on the top of ski lift towers. So as you ride the lift, you are pretty much forced to notice them.
    Maybe when you go for surgery, the Anethesia will block all memory of the experience except Why Chevy Trucks are like a rock.

  7. The next natural step there, of course, would be making the ad happen if they were ready to answer the phone, or charging you for ad-free phones
    ..and the step after that is expensive phones that replace the ad with a ringing sound.

  8. Every TV channel already has its own little vanity logo in the lower corner of the screen, often blocking important plot-forwarding parts of the screen; how soon before it’s replaced/supplemented by an ad ticker along the bottom?

    1. They already have the promos that appear for a second in the corner and then animate happily and run off to one side. Hurghagslfabsdfas

      1. You’d know of this 🙂
        On othr channels the in program ad banners (coughTNTcough) run as a ticker at the bottom of the screen.

    2. The commercial TV channels in the UK do that a lot. (“ALL NEW JOEY COMING UP NEXT” and such). Even the BBC put static watermarks on some of their channels. (Mind you, BBC3 had an “IN MEMORY OF JOHN PEEL” watermark for a day after he died, which was rather cool.)

      1. Just for trivia..Those little clear logos are called bugs. Maybe with interactive TV they will start working like web bugs. [/paranoid]

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