MEDIA: PERSPECTIVE; Advertising in the oddest sites won’t outlive the novelty

I have a sneaking feeling that I may have written this column before - after five-and-a-half years of devoted service it’s hard to remember exactly. But no matter. The old ideas are sometimes the best and, anyway, at least it’s consistent.

I have a sneaking feeling that I may have written this column before -

after five-and-a-half years of devoted service it’s hard to remember

exactly. But no matter. The old ideas are sometimes the best and,

anyway, at least it’s consistent.



It’s about the continued onslaught of new media opportunities (that’s

new as in different or alternative, not as in hi-tech), as people dream

up ever more inventive ideas for placing advertising. Last week’s

Campaign, for example, carried two of the more exotic instances. One,

toilet advertising, was treated as a joke on the Diary page, although

it’s obviously a serious business for some poor soul. The other, Ad Lids

- selling the space on lids of takeaway containers - was treated

seriously.



It is, of course, all too easy to ridicule such concepts, all the more

so given the portentous language with which the salesmen puff up such

stuff. Take the Ad Lids’ sales pitch: potential 600 million new ad sites

per year...most exciting new medium since DRTV... reach consumers in a

relaxed frame of mind... desirable ABC1C2 15- to 44-year-olds...wipe-

clean lids...blah blah blah. As far as I can see, the only thing they

forgot to claim was interactivity since, obviously, you can design your

own ad by dribbling tandoori sauce and pilau rice all over the lids and

then throwing up inside those little foil containers.



Now I’m all for people coming up with unusual media opportunities - it

can add spice to our lives.



As a consumer, however, what concerns me is the growing incidence of

advertising-related visual pollution. We’ve had egg shells, cows,

jockeys’ trousers. But what happens when there is no space left that

cannot be sold? The more consumers are confronted by ads everywhere they

turn, the more the coinage is devalued and the more they put the

shutters up.



You could, of course, argue that this applies to standard advertising.

But at least that has an indirect benefit to us, the consumer. Leaving

aside the fact that advertising is fun and useful (well, not all of it,

but you know what I mean), we know that press advertising funds our

newspapers and favourite magazines. We know that it pays for ITV to

bring us the European Champions’ League. I know, too, that poster

advertisers, as well as brightening up the streets, put money into my

local council’s coffers. In that sense we, as consumers, have an

unspoken contract with advertisers and the media. They fund our media

consumption and, in return, we look at their ads.



But where’s our payback for putting up with ads on takeaways? Will the

revenue benefits be passed on in the form of cheaper spring rolls? Will

they hell.



Still, all is not lost. Despite all the hype about BT’s famous eggshell

ads, I note that the medium has signally failed to take off, which leads

me to conclude, thankfully, that there are some spaces that will remain

forever ad free.



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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).