by Mad Dog
Ad people are still convinced that size matters,
something youd think they figured out after the roaring success of their campaign
|| If it seems like its 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 doesnt 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 outthe 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. Its a damned good thing
advertising people dont look down during sex or theyd 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 McDonalds ("Supersize it!").
Luckily thats not likely to happen anytime soon because
ad people are still convinced that size matters, something youd think they figured
out after the roaring success of their campaign for Godzilla. But they didnt, 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 spacestheyre stationary. Being the inventive people they are,
theyve 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 its the end of western civilization as we know it.
Right, like we didnt 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 theyll be Rushdie-ized and forced into seclusion. Gee,
that would be a shame.
This group assumes that were all
lazy, which I could argue against but, well, its 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 were going to see coming attractions, write in
the sky, and now parade billboards in front of our faces. Its 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. Wont 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 outdonedont you just love
competition?the BIATWC crew wants to put a 30-foot ad banner across the Golden Gate
Bridge toll plaza. Theyre offering to pay the bridge authority $400,000, cover
everyones toll for one day, and foot the funeral expenses for anyone who jumps
because they think its 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 moneys sorely
needed for seismic upgrades and besides, theres already a sign there for the
Larkspur ferry so whats the big difference?" The opposition, of course, thinks
its the end of western civilization as we know it. Right, like we didnt
already hit that when the Fox network aired "Shocking Moments Caught on Video Part
The BTMTM school
(dont 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 theyre 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 theyll be
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 theyll be able to use the footage for years to come with the slogan,
"Burn logos, not pizza." Actually, its not such a bad deal when you
realize it will cost about half that of a 30-second TV commercial in this years
Super Bowl. And its 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 cant blame advertisers for all this. After
all, its 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, its
the advertisers fault. And as Americans, its 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
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. They're
the things in between the ads.