Advertising invades last bastions of privacy

Here’s a little op-ed piece I read in the paper this morning that I got a kick out of. Used without permission of course. The author’s name is at the bottom of the article.In bathroom stalls, elevators and now even the back seat of taxis, they just can’t stop doing it. How disgusting! Have they no shame?I’m speaking, of course, about advertisers. They’re sticking ads everywhere, even hitherto virgin territory.”We’ve done urinal mat advertising,” said Marcie Brogan, managing partner of Brogan & Partners in Detroit. Her competition, Flush Media of the Bronx, places ads discretely above the urinals – as well as bathroom stalls and smack dab in health club shower rooms. What exactly do they advertise there? Soap? Shampoo? Liposuction?”It has reached way past the point of silliness,” said Scott Donaton, editor in chief of Advertising Age, musing on the ubiquity of marketing messages. “The question these days is, where isn’t there advertising?”His magazine has reported on the European fad of painting ad slogans on live cows – presumably not for Big Macs. And then there’s the Amsterdam ad agency offering free pre-printed strollers to parents who don’t mind pushing precious in a billboard on wheels.Advertisers are placing ads on movie ticket stubs, shopping carts and – how could they resist? – ATM screens. As long as you’re waiting for your money, they might as well tell you how to spend it!Commercials blare, too, from checkout counters and computer screens. They’re playing in movie theater lobbies and then again before the film. They call you at dinnertime – for what is telemarketing but the delivery of ads by phone? And there’s a Florida company that has started placing ads inside golf holes.For what? Roof repair? In case you got (ahem) a hole in one?But personally, Donaton most resents the ad invasion of his office building’s elevator where a non-stop TV broadcasts news, commercials and trivia. “I work on the second floor. God forbid I have five seconds to myself to have an independent thought,” he mutters.My most recent and vexing ad assault came Christmas Day when my family was taking a taxi to a friend’s apartment. “Welcome to our world of toys!” sang the TV – yes, TV! – embedded in the back seat. We couldn’t turn it off, which means the kids sat glued to a smarmy toy soldier pitching the magic of the season – i.e. overpriced presents – even as the winter wonderland of a real live white Christmas passed by their windows, unnoticed.”The good life has been supplanted by the unending promise of the good life!” I was about to shriek – till everyone shushed me.So I sat back to count my blessings. Here’s one: At least we weren’t in Europe, looking out on a herd of advertising cows.—————–Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for the New York Daily News.

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