Being Sold To

22 05 2008

BLADE RUNNER, courtesy The Blade Runner PartnershipI was at a meeting today at USC at which someone from an IT committee was talking to us about how the university is attempting to fight email spam.  He told us that over 98% of all emails (estimated at over 35 million per day and rising) is now spam.

Let me say that again — over 98%.

That is horrifyingly staggering.  It also ties in rather well with a conversation I was having Tuesday night with some people I was meeting up in Silicon Alley.

I’ve been counting the amount of time I can go without being sold to.  I go to a web page and there’s a popup.  At the security station at LAX on my way up to Northern California on Tuesday I looked down at the tray they give me to put my shoes and jacket in when you slide it through the detector.  There, at the bottom, was an advertisement.

Taxicabs in New York have ads on top and in the back seat.  When I’m on hold on the phone to my book they try and sell me something.  There are video ads in the aisles of my supermarket and at the islands where I pump my gas.

In short, life is beginning to look like BLADE RUNNER or MINORITY REPORT.

[There was an article in Tuesday’s New York Times about a developer here in Los Angeles who is building some towers in downtown LA and is putting 20 story high billboards, made of strips of LEDs based on what he saw in BLADE RUNNER.]

So, I’ve been timing it.  The longest I’ve gone in the last few weeks without being sold to is about eight minutes, when I was taking a shower in the morning.  (Note that if I had been standing at the urinal in my health club I would be staring at an ad.)

I don’t know about you, but I have two reactions to this constant upselling.  First is that I am real tired of it. The second reaction is horror and surprise — at the fact that I no longer am feeling the horror of constantly being sold to.  I am getting used to the constant barrage.  And that’s the scariest thing of all.

Welcome to the future, folks.




4 responses

23 05 2008

I’m glad someone finally timed this! I’ve often wondered how long we go between ads. I think if we could get everyone to do the same they would be shocked. And to think that it’s only going to get worse…..

26 05 2008

About 5 years ago I visited Cuba. I got a cab from the airport to the hotel in havana and he first thing i noticed when i was on the way was a lack of lights. It was about 5 pm and the sun was setting down. I thought to myself: “wow, things are really hard here, not even lit roads…” Then I noticed it wasn’t lights I was missing, it was Ads, Letterings and Logos. There were a few, but it was like 5% of what we are used to. The feeling was like if suddenly I was on a cabin on the mountains and you can hear only silence and your ears thank you for it. It’s a shame we live in such a polluted world. I don’t know where we are going to here…

26 05 2008

There is a reason why there is so much hype about “social networking” in relation to marketing. The simple fact is that we have stopped paying attention to ads. We don’t even realize how frequent it is. We are even annoyed when we discover we didn’t fully tune it out (like banner ads on websites… Ad Blocker+). And so marketers are a buzz with the “new” marketing of social networking. In short, they are trying to computerize word-of-mouth. It’s not working.

And so we have found something else to be true: We rarely do anything that our friends haven’t told us about. I follow links my friends send me, but I almost never click on something I “stumble upon”… unless I was looking for it. I don’t really care if other people “digg” something, but if my brother sends me the link, I’m there.

So, yes, our lives are going to become more and more cluttered, but I wonder if the gurus out there have actually looked at the numbers and the RIO of this stuff. It may be more pervasive, but I can’t imagine it’s still as effective.


31 05 2008
The Editblog » Weekend You Tubing

[…] and check it out. In an age where we Tivo our programs and skip the ads as fast a possible to avoid being sold to every eight minutes, it takes something really unique to make us pause and actually watch, rewatch and discuss an […]

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