Alas, the TV has now escaped from the home and positioned itself all over today's society to assault us. It can be as annoying as it wants to be, and we have no remote, no mute, no power to turn it off. We're confronted with screens in elevators, taxicabs, grocery carts, at gas pumps, in the checkout lines of stores -- all jabbering at us to buy toilet cleanser and diet soda.
Digital TV networks are already wired into 20 percent of supermarkets and 11 percent of office buildings. Wal-Mart now has 125,000 screens in its stores and actually encourages advertisers to think of its stores as an advertising medium and its customers as viewers.
"It's what we call 360 marketing," says one advertiser, meaning that no matter where you turn, there'll be an ad. There's even a company that targets sick people, having put screens in nearly 11,000 doctor's offices. "You reach a very targeted audience," brags an executive with this outfit. "They're just about to talk to their doctor, and it's a very credible advertising environment," she beams.
Appropriately, the corporations cluttering our environment with these screens have such names as Captivate and Monster Media. They're planning to saturate every place with what they call out-of-home video ads.
Yet, believe it or not, some people are so zoned-out that they claim to like the screens. One 24-year-old guy says that he sometimes sits on the benches at a mall and watches the ads!
Now that's pathetic. To help keep America from becoming a nation of ad watchers, call Commercial Alert: 503-235-8012.
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