In the old article cited here, the Wall Street Journal appears to be trying to determine marketing’s value by gauging if potential consumers are consciously aware of advertising. That’s like attempting to measure temperature with litmus paper.
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As Advertisers race to cover every available surface, are they DRIVING US INSANE?
Carrie McLaren | Issue #18
Not that you would want to. To hear the marketers tell it, advertising is a gift, relieving you of the agony of a reflective moment, that fifteen seconds of waiting for your cash at the ATM. The Outdoor Advertising Association of American calls billboards the “art gallery of the roadways and the theater of the streets.” (The same organization once published a study showing that billboards improve safety by preventing driver “mild disorientation” and “excessive fantasy formation.”)
Advertisers insist the response to ambient ads is “tremendous” (Zoom Media), “overwhelmingly positive” (beachnbillboard.com), that ambient ads are “hot and chic . . . cool and hip” (Starcom Worldwide), and that criticisms are minimal: a few grumpy ATM customers here and there. At the same time, they recognize that ad fatigue is real. People are said to see upwards of 3,000 ads a day, and tuning out most of them is necessary to stay functional. The Wall Street Journal reported that following a Coca-Cola-sponsored racing event that was littered with Coke signs, giant inflatable Coke bottles, and a Coke logo covering the middle of the race track, only one-third of the attendees could name Coke as the sponsor.