When Will They Ever Learn?

Matt Creamer points to this NYTimes story about a start-up called Ad-Air, which claims to have created the “first global aerial advertising network — giant, billboardlike ads that will be visible from the air as planes approach runways.” Please note: I work in the marketing industry and I support advertising. But as a consumer struggling to process the military onslaught of impressions and irrelevant advertising clutter aimed at my psyche, I like this idea about as much as I do the swastika-shaped Navy barracks recently revealed with aerial photo services like Google Earth.

Matt said:

As if, the airline experience wasn’t already rock-bottom, let’s shove a few more ads in your face. Here’s my favorite quote: “What an incredible marketing opportunity — all these passengers with nothing else to do, staring down at the ground below,” said Paul Jenkins, managing director of London-based Ad-Air, the start-up that’s the focus of the press rel-, er, article. I love the notion that activities like reading, talking, watching TV, listening to music, or simply just sitting there and not be marketed to constitutes “passengers with nothing else to do.” That’s a sophisticated understanding of your audience there Paul.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Advertising should be a service, if not a benefit, but certainly not a nuisance. If your advertising is a nuisance, customers and prospects will try to block you technologically, mentally or physically. More importantly, they’ll begin to turn away, or worse, they’ll dislike you. To complicate matters, bringing advertising to public, outdoor spaces raises citizen sensitivity. I suppose Ad-Air won’t be opening up shop in Brazil anytime soon.

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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