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Ad Saturation Approaches 100 Percent

We read today in the New York Times that the Publicis Group, described as the world's fourth largest advertising company, is going to meld with the Simon Property Group, the nation's largest owner of shopping malls, to present us with ... more ads. Thank God that every flat surface will soon have advertisements on it.


(OnSpot Eyesore(TM) Technology Monitor)

The Times dutifully provides us with other examples:

  • Clear Channel Outdoor digital billboards in London
  • Low tech sliding screen ads already in local malls
  • Giant screens in Times Square, stadia, etc.

I've already seen this future, and I thought it was funny when I read about it; I'm less amused now. And if you think that advertisers will be satisfied with just using existing surfaces for ads, think again. For example, in his remarkable but uneven 1975 work The Computer Connection, science fiction writer Alfred Bester writes about holographic ads that are projected right into the home; the following ad interrupts a dinner conversation:

A naked model appeared on all fours and spoke [with] a giant Irish wolfhound. "The only organic food for your beloved pet is Tumor, the new, improved energizer that gives fast, fast relief from the sexual separation between the species..."

"I thought this house was insulated," Borgia complained.

The voice of the Syndicate came from below. "It is my fault. I could not close the door."
(Read more about projection commercials)

In Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth's excellent 1952 novel The Space Merchants, savvy advertisers know you want to look out the windows of planes.

It wasn't a pleasant trip ... we flew low .. you turn your head and look out the window and just as you convince your stomach that everything's all right and your self that it's interesting country below, wham: a ... Taunton ad for some crummy product opaques the window and one of their nagging, stupid jingles drills into your ear. (Read more about airplane window ads)

I'd also point out that writer Anne Warren Griffith also imagined a similar future in 1953 in her satiric short story Captive Audience, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. She goes beyond what Cooler Screens imagines, describing a store in which all individual product packages contain Buy-Me-Discs which send out a special message to consumers right in the store!

What was it Grandmother used to call their supermarket? Hell on earth, hell on wheels, something like that. Mavis, of course, understood that simultaneous [,a href="content.asp?Bnum=3656">Master Ventriloquism Corporation] messages were necessary in the stores in order to give every product a chance at its share of the consumer dollar, but just this afternoon she did wish she could skip it...

They reached the cereal area, and as always the children were entranced. Their faces shone with excitement as they picked up one box after another, to hear the commercials more clearly. There were sounds of gunfire; all kinds of snapping, crackling, and popping; there were loud shouts of “CRISPIER! NUTTIER! YUMMIER!” There were more modulated appeals, addressed to Mother, about increased nourishment and energy-building; there were the voices of athletes, urging the kids to come on and be one of the gang; there were whinnies of horses and explosive sounds of jets and rockets; there were cowboy songs and hillbilly songs and rhymes and jingles and bands and quartets and trios!

(Read more about Buy-Me-Discs)

I'd also point out that writer Anne Warren Griffith also imagined a similar future in 1953 in her satiric short story Captive Audience, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. She goes beyond what Cooler Screens imagines, describing a store in which all individual product packages contain Buy-Me-Discs which send out a special message to consumers right in the store!

What was it Grandmother used to call their supermarket? Hell on earth, hell on wheels, something like that. Mavis, of course, understood that simultaneous [,a href="content.asp?Bnum=3656">Master Ventriloquism Corporation] messages were necessary in the stores in order to give every product a chance at its share of the consumer dollar, but just this afternoon she did wish she could skip it...

They reached the cereal area, and as always the children were entranced. Their faces shone with excitement as they picked up one box after another, to hear the commercials more clearly. There were sounds of gunfire; all kinds of snapping, crackling, and popping; there were loud shouts of “CRISPIER! NUTTIER! YUMMIER!” There were more modulated appeals, addressed to Mother, about increased nourishment and energy-building; there were the voices of athletes, urging the kids to come on and be one of the gang; there were whinnies of horses and explosive sounds of jets and rockets; there were cowboy songs and hillbilly songs and rhymes and jingles and bands and quartets and trios!

(Read more about Buy-Me-Discs)

I'd also point out that writer Anne Warren Griffith also imagined a similar future in 1953 in her satiric short story Captive Audience, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. She goes beyond what Cooler Screens imagines, describing a store in which all individual product packages contain Buy-Me-Discs which send out a special message to consumers right in the store!

What was it Grandmother used to call their supermarket? Hell on earth, hell on wheels, something like that. Mavis, of course, understood that simultaneous [,a href="content.asp?Bnum=3656">Master Ventriloquism Corporation] messages were necessary in the stores in order to give every product a chance at its share of the consumer dollar, but just this afternoon she did wish she could skip it...

They reached the cereal area, and as always the children were entranced. Their faces shone with excitement as they picked up one box after another, to hear the commercials more clearly. There were sounds of gunfire; all kinds of snapping, crackling, and popping; there were loud shouts of “CRISPIER! NUTTIER! YUMMIER!” There were more modulated appeals, addressed to Mother, about increased nourishment and energy-building; there were the voices of athletes, urging the kids to come on and be one of the gang; there were whinnies of horses and explosive sounds of jets and rockets; there were cowboy songs and hillbilly songs and rhymes and jingles and bands and quartets and trios!

(Read more about Buy-Me-Discs)

I'd also point out that writer Anne Warren Griffith also imagined a similar future in 1953 in her satiric short story Captive Audience, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. She goes beyond what Cooler Screens imagines, describing a store in which all individual product packages contain Buy-Me-Discs which send out a special message to consumers right in the store!

What was it Grandmother used to call their supermarket? Hell on earth, hell on wheels, something like that. Mavis, of course, understood that simultaneous [,a href="content.asp?Bnum=3656">Master Ventriloquism Corporation] messages were necessary in the stores in order to give every product a chance at its share of the consumer dollar, but just this afternoon she did wish she could skip it...

They reached the cereal area, and as always the children were entranced. Their faces shone with excitement as they picked up one box after another, to hear the commercials more clearly. There were sounds of gunfire; all kinds of snapping, crackling, and popping; there were loud shouts of “CRISPIER! NUTTIER! YUMMIER!” There were more modulated appeals, addressed to Mother, about increased nourishment and energy-building; there were the voices of athletes, urging the kids to come on and be one of the gang; there were whinnies of horses and explosive sounds of jets and rockets; there were cowboy songs and hillbilly songs and rhymes and jingles and bands and quartets and trios!

(Read more about Buy-Me-Discs)

I'd also point out that writer Anne Warren Griffith also imagined a similar future in 1953 in her satiric short story Captive Audience, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. She goes beyond what Cooler Screens imagines, describing a store in which all individual product packages contain Buy-Me-Discs which send out a special message to consumers right in the store!

What was it Grandmother used to call their supermarket? Hell on earth, hell on wheels, something like that. Mavis, of course, understood that simultaneous [,a href="content.asp?Bnum=3656">Master Ventriloquism Corporation] messages were necessary in the stores in order to give every product a chance at its share of the consumer dollar, but just this afternoon she did wish she could skip it...

They reached the cereal area, and as always the children were entranced. Their faces shone with excitement as they picked up one box after another, to hear the commercials more clearly. There were sounds of gunfire; all kinds of snapping, crackling, and popping; there were loud shouts of “CRISPIER! NUTTIER! YUMMIER!” There were more modulated appeals, addressed to Mother, about increased nourishment and energy-building; there were the voices of athletes, urging the kids to come on and be one of the gang; there were whinnies of horses and explosive sounds of jets and rockets; there were cowboy songs and hillbilly songs and rhymes and jingles and bands and quartets and trios!

(Read more about Buy-Me-Discs)

I'd also point out that writer Anne Warren Griffith also imagined a similar future in 1953 in her satiric short story Captive Audience, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. She goes beyond what Cooler Screens imagines, describing a store in which all individual product packages contain Buy-Me-Discs which send out a special message to consumers right in the store!

What was it Grandmother used to call their supermarket? Hell on earth, hell on wheels, something like that. Mavis, of course, understood that simultaneous [,a href="content.asp?Bnum=3656">Master Ventriloquism Corporation] messages were necessary in the stores in order to give every product a chance at its share of the consumer dollar, but just this afternoon she did wish she could skip it...

They reached the cereal area, and as always the children were entranced. Their faces shone with excitement as they picked up one box after another, to hear the commercials more clearly. There were sounds of gunfire; all kinds of snapping, crackling, and popping; there were loud shouts of “CRISPIER! NUTTIER! YUMMIER!” There were more modulated appeals, addressed to Mother, about increased nourishment and energy-building; there were the voices of athletes, urging the kids to come on and be one of the gang; there were whinnies of horses and explosive sounds of jets and rockets; there were cowboy songs and hillbilly songs and rhymes and jingles and bands and quartets and trios!

(Read more about Buy-Me-Discs)

I'd also point out that writer Anne Warren Griffith also imagined a similar future in 1953 in her satiric short story Captive Audience, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. She goes beyond what Cooler Screens imagines, describing a store in which all individual product packages contain Buy-Me-Discs which send out a special message to consumers right in the store!

What was it Grandmother used to call their supermarket? Hell on earth, hell on wheels, something like that. Mavis, of course, understood that simultaneous [,a href="content.asp?Bnum=3656">Master Ventriloquism Corporation] messages were necessary in the stores in order to give every product a chance at its share of the consumer dollar, but just this afternoon she did wish she could skip it...

They reached the cereal area, and as always the children were entranced. Their faces shone with excitement as they picked up one box after another, to hear the commercials more clearly. There were sounds of gunfire; all kinds of snapping, crackling, and popping; there were loud shouts of “CRISPIER! NUTTIER! YUMMIER!” There were more modulated appeals, addressed to Mother, about increased nourishment and energy-building; there were the voices of athletes, urging the kids to come on and be one of the gang; there were whinnies of horses and explosive sounds of jets and rockets; there were cowboy songs and hillbilly songs and rhymes and jingles and bands and quartets and trios!

(Read more about Buy-Me-Discs)

I'd also point out that writer Anne Warren Griffith also imagined a similar future in 1953 in her satiric short story Captive Audience, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. She goes beyond what Cooler Screens imagines, describing a store in which all individual product packages contain Buy-Me-Discs which send out a special message to consumers right in the store!

What was it Grandmother used to call their supermarket? Hell on earth, hell on wheels, something like that. Mavis, of course, understood that simultaneous [,a href="content.asp?Bnum=3656">Master Ventriloquism Corporation] messages were necessary in the stores in order to give every product a chance at its share of the consumer dollar, but just this afternoon she did wish she could skip it...

They reached the cereal area, and as always the children were entranced. Their faces shone with excitement as they picked up one box after another, to hear the commercials more clearly. There were sounds of gunfire; all kinds of snapping, crackling, and popping; there were loud shouts of “CRISPIER! NUTTIER! YUMMIER!” There were more modulated appeals, addressed to Mother, about increased nourishment and energy-building; there were the voices of athletes, urging the kids to come on and be one of the gang; there were whinnies of horses and explosive sounds of jets and rockets; there were cowboy songs and hillbilly songs and rhymes and jingles and bands and quartets and trios!

(Read more about Buy-Me-Discs)

Update 20-Mar-2022 Writer Anne Warren Griffith also imagined a similar future in 1953 in her satiric short story Captive Audience, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. She describes a store in which all individual product packages contain Buy-Me-Discs which send out a special message to consumers right in the store!

What was it Grandmother used to call their supermarket? Hell on earth, hell on wheels, something like that. Mavis, of course, understood that simultaneous [,a href="content.asp?Bnum=3656">Master Ventriloquism Corporation] messages were necessary in the stores in order to give every product a chance at its share of the consumer dollar, but just this afternoon she did wish she could skip it...
(Read more about Buy-Me-Discs)

End update.

The desire to put advertisements everywhere people might look is a disturbing example of horror vacui in what is sometimes called Outsider Art. Horror vacui is literally the fear of empty spaces; it often characterizes the work of mental patients, who obsessively fill every square millimeter of paper and canvas. Advertisers see themselves as outside of society, trying to manipulate it, filling every space with commercial messages and branding symbols; I'd like to see the people who can't bear space without ads institutionalized. Horror vacui? Get over it.

Why you would want to read more about ads, I don't know, but if you do, take a look at French Billboards Call Your Cellphone, A-170 Video Lightsign Airship Brings Bladerunner Ad Blimp To Sky Near You and Sky Billboards In Fact And Fiction (it turns out that even Jules Verne thought about excessive advertising).

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/12/2006)

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