If you thought that advertising clutter was already out of control, you ain't seen nuthin' yet. A number of media companies are looking to cram advertising messages into every nook and cranny of your everyday existence. Last week the New York Times looked at the push to deliver interruption ad messages in a wide variety of unexpected places -- from mass transit turnstiles to the shells of eggs. (free registration required.)
My least favorite new advertising venue? Airport security bins (yep, those grey containers into which you place your shoes, laptop, toiletries and watch.) Forbes looked at this new form of advertising earlier this month, calling it an advertiser's fantasy come true: a way to reach "a captive audience unable to walk away from [the advertiser's] message because they have no shoes." Forbes goes on to call this new ad program a win/win/win: "Advertisers reach frequent flyers, the TSA saves millions on equipment and airports gets a cut of the profits."
It almost goes without saying that Forbes missed the point entirely. This medium is hardly a clear-cut win for advertisers -- how does it benefit a brand to be so closely associated with an experience that for most people is anything but positive; isn't the so-called "captive audience" likely to be distracted, in a rush and quite possibly annoyed; and unless you're Dr. Scholls what good does it do to have your ad be the resting place for a weary business traveler's dirty shoes?
But more importantly, notice who doesn't even get a mention in that win/win/win equation? The consumer.
The slogan for the company that sells the security bin placements -- SecurityPoint Media -- is "Unavoidable Media/Guaranteed Impressions." Oof. Just as the smartest marketers are realizing that interrupting unreceptive consumers is no longer an effective means of spreading brand stories, other backward-looking media and marketing companies seem proud that they've found new ways to interrupt.
When are companies going to realize that you can't break through advertising clutter by simply creating even more clutter?