The Search For The Elusive Captive Audience Means No More Contemplation?

from the we-need-meditation-rooms dept

For a while now, we've been pointing out that the captive audience is dead, and anyone who bases their business model on intrusive or annoying advertising to a captive audience is likely to be in trouble. However, Jeremy Wagstaff is pointing out one other unintended consequence of all of this: which is that companies are increasingly searching for that elusive captive audience. He notes that he used to be able to spend time on the bus just looking out the window and contemplating, but now there are strategically placed video screens that make contemplation difficult. These sorts of things are showing up everywhere. I find it increasingly rare to step into an elevator these days that doesn't have a video screen with some sort of advertising on it. Hell, even urinals aren't safe any more. Basically, companies are looking anywhere possible where they might be able to find a captive audience and are shoving some kind of advertising in the way, and that means fewer spaces where people can just be alone with their thoughts. Of course, in the end, this will simply contribute to ad blindness, making all of these efforts a waste of money.

Filed Under: advertising, captive audience, contemplation


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Bill W, 28 Feb 2008 @ 10:28pm

    Gas staions

    The new Shell station in town has "Gas Pump TV" or some such they call it. It's actually interesting at times but you're really not there very long. I was crushed the other day while I filled up to hear that Eric Clapton was at Madison Square Garden at the same time we were already going to be in California! If we hadn't had other firm plans they might have driven a sale. And it's not very intrusive as I find that pumping gas isn't much of a "personal" moment where such things might be seen as an intrusion. YMMV ....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    KD, 28 Feb 2008 @ 10:34pm

    As predicted by ...

    Ever read The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth? A number of Heinlein's novels depicted intrusive advertising in passing, not as a main theme. Many SF writers since have included intrusive advertising to some degree in their stories. And remember Ladybird's campaign against billboards?

    This trend was apparent to many people quite some time ago. Reality is just catching up to the predictions.

    I don't like it, either, but I don't see a damn thing I can do about it. Enough of the sheeple will be taken in by such advertising, so the megacorps will find it profitable.

    About the only thing I can imagine that would cut it off would be to train/condition children from an early age to develop an aversion to any product advertised in undesirable ways. Of course the megacorps would fight that tooth and nail (and, probably, assassin), not to mention that essentially brainwashing (or maybe reverse-brainwashing) of children is just as repugnant as the pervasive advertising.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Satiricohen, 28 Feb 2008 @ 10:53pm

    No Doubt, the Space Merchants have arrived

    If a recall correctly, the few sane people left had to move out to the moon or Venus to start over.

    But probably by now they have intrusive advertising there as well...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2008 @ 11:25pm

    Maybe America just sucks. I travel by bus, train, car and foot an awful lot and the only things I see are the odd billboard (not even that many to be quite honest).

    I can understand how it's annoying for people, but posting stuff on the internet isn't going to get it changed. You'll all whine about it, but that's all you'll do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Wolferz (profile), 29 Feb 2008 @ 1:41am

      Re:

      Information is power. The communication of ideas precipitates change.

      The change you mention will never happen unless enough people are convinced there is a problem.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      4-80-sicks, 29 Feb 2008 @ 7:36am

      Re:

      I can understand how it's annoying for people, but posting stuff on the internet isn't going to get it changed. You'll all whine about it, but that's all you'll do.

      Piss off wanker :-) What should we do, protest and riot in the streets? See Joe's comment, there are people who compose their buying habits to have the opposite effect the ads are intending. I'm one, too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mitch the Bitch, 28 Feb 2008 @ 11:59pm

    Always with the EVILCORP.... Dont fn look at it, how hard is that? Some people actually LEARN about a new exciting product due to advertisements. Then WE go purchase them. Then that EVILCORP can hire some folks whom can actually make a living that will support all the EVILGOVERNMENT programs that WE are forced to pay at the point of a gun which in turn GIVES LAZYBUM permanent victims an excuse to steal....

    So WHOM is the really bad guy? Not the EVILCORP you speak thats for fn sure...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Feb 2008 @ 12:52am

      Re:

      Alternatively, EVILCORP oversaturates consumers with "captive" advertising, leading to consumers ignoring advertising, leading to them not find out about said new exciting product. No sales of product = no generation of jobs and wealth = economy collapses = end of world.

      Just saying.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Iron Chef, 29 Feb 2008 @ 12:36am

    Captive Audience + Subliminal Adverts

    There's an amazing subliminal advertising video I recently came across. It's quite interesting-- The video shows key aspects that contributed to the study, objects and people that were strategically placed to create the outcome.

    Point is, if you put enough random pictures for people to see on every corner, in the same way advertisers pay huge amounts to put their photos on certain pages of magazines, you can be influenced. Trigger off the sub-mind with the bear, and bingo! Job done.

    Brilliant... Check it out for yourself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyQjr1YL0zg

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe, 29 Feb 2008 @ 12:53am

    I do not pay to watch commercials. I go out of my way NOT to buy anything that I see in a movie theater commercial. That same reason is why I have never had cable or a dish.

    Do those comapnies care? No.

    But I do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wolferz, 29 Feb 2008 @ 1:33am

    ad blindness and the effects of information overlo

    Interesting term, ad blindness. I've noted for a long time now that I have an uncanny ability to "not see" advertisements in websites and even pop ups. Over exposure probably. I always wondered if it was limited to me (and perhaps select others) but for a term to be coined regarding it shows it clearly isn't.

    For example, until I thought about it (some where between typing "long" and "time" above) I didn't even realize there was an advertisement in front of me. Now having looked I note there are three staring me in the face.

    Now, more importantly:
    As some one who spends most of his time "jacked in" I am more in tune with the effect being constantly bombarded with information has than most. While you might learn something new you don't get as many opportunities to analyze and qualify what you have learned. This reduces overall comprehension. What, when, where, and how are no where near as important as WHY. There is a lot to be learned about asking yourself WHY something trivial is the way it is.

    It is this information overload that, when you have been working hard on fixing an problem or dealing with an issue and you just cannot figure it out, results in the "obvious" solution to jump out at you after you have stepped back and taken a few minutes break.

    It is my opinion that information overload is one of the main influences in generally lowering peoples comprehension. People no longer take time to compartmentalize all the crap they have rattling around in their heads. As a result they often fail to form the links between different things and end up with an incomplete view of the world around them as a result.

    Also, while I can tune the ads out, some people can't. My mom for example doesn't seem capable of tuning anything out... perhaps a result of growing up in a world were the main source of information was the library and TV and if she wanted to learn anything she had to go out of her way to do it.

    That considered, in a couple of generations ether advertising will become REALLY intrusive or the marketing industry will collapse. Ether way it's probably gonna get worse before it gets better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Steve R. (profile), 29 Feb 2008 @ 5:28am

    Marketing as a Drug Additction

    As many of the posters have pointed out, over saturation of a message leads to it being ignored. Unfortunately, like a drug addict looking for their next fix, the only concept the sales department seems to understand - we need an ever greater marketing effort.

    In "Minority Report" (the movie) as our hero Anderton as he walks around public places the billboards read his identity and give him personalized ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ad Nonsense, 29 Feb 2008 @ 6:01am

    School kids are the captive audience

    The first part of Naomi Klein's No Logo is all about this. It is called "No Space" and talks about how adverts are intruding everywhere - most harmfully in schools, where the pupils really are a captive audience. Would you believe that some schools even base lessons around certain companies and one had a Coke Day?

    To the person who said the world will end if we stop buying products and the economy collapses: you could not be further from the truth. If the world ends, it will be due to people mindlessly consuming things they don't need and wasting all the planet's resources. Advertising will be the end of us if we don't make a stand now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Steve R. (profile), 29 Feb 2008 @ 8:44am

      Re: School kids are the captive audience

      That reminds me of a particularly rancid incident where I work. We will be migrating to a new time card system. We were given a power point "training" presentation. The so-called "training" was nothing more than an advertisement by the consulting firm bragging about their product. Where was the barf bag!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Feb 2008 @ 6:36am

    Minority Report

    Just wait, soon the video display will call out your name and suggest a future purchase.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Eric Goldman (profile), 29 Feb 2008 @ 11:20am

    See Godin's Permission Marketing book

    Seth Godin's Permission Marketing book from 1999 really nails this by explaining the complete failure of "interruption marketing." Eric.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 2 Mar 2008 @ 5:59am

    Protective 'glasses' like from Snowcrash...

    Ah that lovely anti-utopia post economic crash book my science fiction course had me read (so glad I opted for that class).

    The basic idea, though modified, is that the glasses would have a combination of HUD and sections that would also vastly darken the incoming light in key areas. If you combine that with a system that either knows viewing angle and ad locations/distances, or one that can recognise ads on the fly, then you can drive the filter to block out that input. Of course that doesn't fix sounds...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • M&Aコーポレート・アドバイザリー

    M&A無料相談。中小企業のためのM&Aアドバイザーが親身に相談に乗 ます。

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.