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[Your Ad Here]
by Mad Dog


Ad people are still convinced that size matters, something you’d think they figured out after the roaring success of their campaign for Godzilla.
     If it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to get away from advertising, well, it is. What started as Adam putting a handbill up in the Garden of Eden for his famous ribs is now a battle to find an empty two square inches of space in which to plunk down an ad. And you thought the real estate market was tight.

     Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t dream up a new place to put advertising. Newspapers, magazines, and skywriting? How passť. Flashing ads on your computer screen? Who sees them anymore? One of the great things about being human is that we can tune things out—the ads on grocery dividers at the checkout stand, the signs on park benches, the tiny stickers on our bananas, even the ads they imprint in the sand at the beach every morning. It’s a damned good thing advertising people don’t look down during sex or they’d realize that a condom is the perfect place to advertise mutual funds ("Looking for a bigger growth opportunity?"), Pennzoil ("Lower friction for longer-lasting lubrication"), or McDonald’s ("Supersize it!").

     Luckily that’s not likely to happen anytime soon because ad people are still convinced that size matters, something you’d think they figured out after the roaring success of their campaign for Godzilla. But they didn’t, so classified ads begot full page ads, which begot posters, which begot billboards, which begot those giant wallscapes which cover the whole side of a building.

     Then they discovered a problem, aside from running out of bigger spaces—they’re stationary. Being the inventive people they are, they’ve remedied this massive defect by hauling billboards around town on trailers. Trust me, if they could chain us up and force us to look at them they would.



The opposition, of course, thinks it’s the end of western civilization as we know it. Right, like we didn’t already hit that when the Fox network aired "Shocking Moments Caught on Video Part II."
     This brings us to the two schools of thought about advertising. The first is the Build It And They Will Come school, which puts up advertisements assuming people will eventually walk or drive by and see them. The second is the Bring the Mountain to Mohammed school, which had better watch their collective asses or they’ll be Rushdie-ized and forced into seclusion. Gee, that would be a shame.

     This group assumes that we’re all lazy, which I could argue against but, well, it’s just too much trouble. They like the idea of bringing the advertising to us, which is why they send us unwanted email, show ads before the movie when we think we’re going to see coming attractions, write in the sky, and now parade billboards in front of our faces. It’s like home delivery of advertising without having to lift a phone to get it. Right, as if anyone would.

     Not being content to block the streets, uglify the city, and create a traffic hazard almost as bad as your grandmother talking on a cell phone while driving, the BTMTM bunch came up with another brainstorm: haul billboards around the San Francisco Bay. They hope to mount billboards on boats and have them sail along the waterfront. Won’t that be picturesque! Maybe they should just save themselves the trouble of outfitting the boats and drive the billboard-laden trailers right into the bay.

     Not to be outdone—don’t you just love competition?—the BIATWC crew wants to put a 30-foot ad banner across the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza. They’re offering to pay the bridge authority $400,000, cover everyone’s toll for one day, and foot the funeral expenses for anyone who jumps because they think it’s sacrilegious.



Three-quarters of the Californians polled said aggressive TV food advertising was the main obstacle to their eating a healthy diet. Not spending too many hours sitting in front of the TV doing a bad Chihuahua imitation and muttering "Yo quiero my junk food?".
     People are lining up on both sides of this issue. One side says "Why not? The money’s sorely needed for seismic upgrades and besides, there’s already a sign there for the Larkspur ferry so what’s the big difference?" The opposition, of course, thinks it’s the end of western civilization as we know it. Right, like we didn’t already hit that when the Fox network aired "Shocking Moments Caught on Video Part II."

     The BTMTM school (don’t be lazy, go back a few paragraphs and remind yourself what it means) may have the last laugh thanks to Pizza Hut. The company announced that they’re going to pay Russia $1 million to deliver pizza to the Mir space station. Just kidding. Everyone knows Mir will be falling to earth any minute so why waste all that gas when they’ll be right here?

     What they are going to get for their million bucks is the chance to paint their logo on a Proton rocket scheduled to be launched in mid-November. The ad will only last a few minutes before it burns off in the atmosphere, but Pizza Hut figures they’ll be able to use the footage for years to come with the slogan, "Burn logos, not pizza." Actually, it’s not such a bad deal when you realize it will cost about half that of a 30-second TV commercial in this year’s Super Bowl. And it’s a safer bet more people will be sober, not in the bathroom, and not running out to buy more chips when the Proton rocket blasts off.

     You really can’t blame advertisers for all this. After all, it’s their job to advertise. And our job to ignore it. Or at least use it as a convenient scapegoat. A recent survey found that three-quarters of the Californians polled said aggressive TV food advertising was the main obstacle to their eating a healthy diet. Not lack of self-discipline. Not spending too many hours sitting in front of the TV doing a bad Chihuahua imitation and muttering "Yo quiero my junk food?". No, it’s the advertiser’s fault. And as Americans, it’s our constitutional right not to take responsibility for anything. Including mentioning that from now on there could be two blank inches in the middle of my column just in case anyone has an idea of something they might like to put there. *hint* *hint*

©1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. They're the things in between the ads.

 

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