Advertising. It’s everywhere. And nowadays that’s expected. Billboards, radio, TV, Internet, coffee cups, newspapers, etc…
And that’s fine. People need to get the word out about their company. But there needs to be a set of rules concerning ads. And these rules need to be enforced by bipolar inmates on steroids.
Rule #1: No gas station advertising.
I pull up to the station and open my wallet. A few moths fly out. I then hold it near my gas tank. I have to hold it tight because the gravitational pull of the empty tank is very strong. Within seconds, one’s and five’s begin to fly out and crumple slightly before being sucked into Jupiter, the gas giant (corny, I apologize). My mood is thus – disheartened, full of money shame, happy challenged, aggressive without direction, financially angry in a helpless sort of way, gas raped, futile, contemptuously colic, and pessimistically exasperated.
Out of nowhere rumbles the voice of God, telling me to buy insurance and acne medicine. Then I realize it’s not the voice of Morgan Freeman, but the voice of the Ad God (which is a good thing, because when God tells you to buy insurance, it can lead to paranoia). The Ad God wants me to sign up with Allstate and start using Proactive.
First problem. Timing. I’m already handing over way too much of my paycheck at the gas tanks to people who may be human rights challenged. So, with each gallon that sloshes into my tank, our family dinners are changing from lasagna and pork chops to Ramen noodles and… Ramen noodles. As my financial ability to survive until my next payday slowly dissolves, is this really the most opportune time to ask me to spend more money on your product? No, it’s not. Actually, it creates a negative connotation of your product. My mind now equates your product to me losing money. You have accomplished the opposite of what you intended. You’ve created an aversion to your product.
Second problem. Prison. That’s what I’m in when I’m at a gas station. An open air prison. The advertising company actually counts this as a plus when attracting advertisers. One web site referred to us as a ‘captive audience.’ Captive (kăp’tĭv): A person who is confined; especially a prisoner of war. So now that I am a prisoner, it’s time to force the propaganda, big brother style, right down my throat. Sure, I can press the ‘OFF’ button, but you can still hear the pervasive Ad God rumbling from the other side of the pump. Like all worthy brainwashing techniques, you can’t turn it off, ever. This is like Ron Jeremy coming up to you in church and asking you in a booming voice what you’re up to lately. You try to move away, but he just keeps talking about stuff you don’t want to hear while all your friends stare out the corner of their eyes at you. This is how gas station advertising makes me feel. Slimy, anxious, and awkward. Make it stop. Please.
Rule #2: Let’s fix Rule #1 first.