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Are we too cluttered with advertising?

Are we too cluttered with advertising?

Considering that advertising – whether via magazine, billboard or any other means – is part of the way in which I pay my bills, I should probably answer this in some other way… but I believe we truly are in advertising overload. It is literally everywhere.

We are being advertised/marketed to in ways and places we don’t even realize. It comes from every direction – from the moment you wake up to the time you close your eyes. Packaging on trusted products you have in your house cross-sell you on additional products you “need”; your favorite television program uses only one type of computer or phone, or they drive a certain car; bills that come in the mail have small mentions of a new service offered. Just a short 5-minute drive could have you assaulted with tons of roadside billboards or signage – all in an attempt to win your attention. It’s ugly and overwhelming.

The problem with most of this type of advertising is it’s a one-way assault. And it feels like just that. An assault. There is no measurable way in which to know if any of it actually reaches out and grabs its intended audience – and it may actually account for millions of dollars spent for no good reason. All the while, it’s making us all immune to “hearing” all the noise.

In 2007 the mayor of Sao Paulo, Brazil passed a “Clean City Law” which banned all visual pollution (outdoor advertising). Everyone was worried that this was going to negatively affect business in the region. Seven years into this “experiment,” it seems that this is not what happened at all. In fact, according to an article written for Forbes ,it seems that it forced local companies to be more innovative in how they engage their consumers. They began to interact directly with them through social media, public stunts and viral campaigns. And a valuable lesson was learned: Interaction is a better way in which to reach your audience and create consumer loyalty.

Now we haven’t quite reached the Minority Report level of intrusiveness in our advertising, but make no mistake - the technology already exists to make it possible. In the movie Minority Report (set in the year 2054) the main character walks through the city and into a shopping mall, where facial recognition allows the technology to bombard him with personalized advertisements. While many in advertising salivate at the idea that they could give off the impression that they have personally tailored their product or service for a single person, this is just another version of a one-way conversation. Wouldn’t it be great to head that off before it happens? We could take the lessons of Sao Paulo and cut back on the noise – creating an atmosphere where companies have to take an active approach to reaching out to their consumers. And maybe we could cut back on the ugly clutter.

Minority Report Advertising

Mar 30, 2014
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There are 1 comments for this entry. Leave a comment below »


I strongly agree. Advertising has done little for our translation company even when the audience is fairly well targeted. Networking, social media, referrals and search engines are really where our business is coming from. I personally don't really see much of the advertising or product placement. that goes on now. I just filter it out.

Kathy Quinn
Apr 01, 2014


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