APRIL 16, 2008

Let me pee in private!
       Have you ever bought something you saw advertised in a bathroom? You’re at a restaurant, you just had a big meal and think you’ve got a few minutes of privacy listening to Muzak, when you look up and there is an ad greeting you in the stall reminding you about a wings special or cheap beer in the sports bar next week.
       Is no place sacred anymore? Are advertisers so desperate to catch us off guard that we need to be surprised while sitting on a toilet?
       There’s nothing wrong with traditional places companies advertise. You’re seeing them on this page right now. And we expect to have several minutes of commercials on the radio and on TV, but it really pissed me off (no pun intended) when I can’t even relieve myself without having advertisements literally inches from my face. (Guys, if you’ve been at one of those urinals, you know what I’m talking about.)
       It’s bad enough that TV shows are loaded with convenient product placements – everybody on American Idol loves Coca-Cola and red and white graphics swirl behind people on stage – but now it’s gone from “What’s a clever advertising message?” to “What’s the most clever way to trick people into seeing the ad?”
       I wrote about this a few weeks ago when I refused to be a “corporate whore” and not give into the promotion of companies with my clothing or house.
       It’s one thing to have my house monitored by an alarm company, but it’s even more convenient that the company supplied lawn signs, window stickers and fridge magnets to tell the world I use the company. On the surface all the items seemed like a convenient gift, but in the end I finally realized, “Wait a second, this magnet holding up my shopping list is also advertising the company I pay to alarm my house.” Maybe it’s not such a great deal after all. There we go again with the sneaky advertising.
       In such a commercial world I hope I never give in and accept that new way of life.
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