Friday, July 11, 2008

It All 'Ads' Up

The first time I saw advertising projected on the ice surface in a pro hockey venue I was astounded. At the time most non-print advertising was relegated to billboards, TV screens, placards on the interior of public transportation and store windows; with the unlikely exceptions of banner towing, sky writing (You knew I'd have to get that in somehow) the Goodyear blimp and Howard Johnson's red roofs. These days ads cover the whole exterior of the bus or light rail car (or two) and every athletic venue is a non-stop visual and auditory advertising assault. I suppose we should have seen it coming

About the same time ads started decorating hockey rinks, they also began springing up in trendy restaurant rest rooms. And who could forget 'designer mania' when designers began plastering their names or initials on their clothes. It started with scarves and graduated to every conceivable article of clothing and persists today. Some of us wore them proudly . . . for awhile. Then we somehow acquired the sense to wonder why we should pay exhorbitant fees to be a walking ad for the designer. Meanwhile the nameless and timeless Burberry plaid survived and thrived.

And so it goes. The ad once projected on a hockey rink has moved 'upstairs' to a once impenatrable venue. US Airways is selling laminated tray table advertising. Airline ticket jackets and cocktail napkins, which used to bear reproductions of the airplanes and logo of the airline are now for sale to advertisers. Even air sickness bags are targets for ads. Who would want to advertise on a burp bag? I don't even want to go there. But a spokesman said these ancillary ads are worth about $20 Million a year to US Airways and that ain't hay as airlines search for ways to offset high fuel costs.

Many airlines hawk their signature credit cards during flight. AirTran Airways cabin attendants make a P.A. announcement and then walk up and down the aisle with applications, hoping to make a commission. JetBlue Airways has developed advertising partnerships with the likes of the New York Times to run videos on the TV's in its seatbacks. And while the cabin crew passes out samples of Dove soap (they have nothing else to do) an ad for the product appears on Ch 13, JetBlue's live flight tracker screen.

A captive audience of strapped-in passengers is an advertisers dream and a stream of revenue for cash-strapped airlines. We should have seen it coming.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home