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Anywhere the Eye Can See

Anywhere the Eye Can See - Anywhere the Eye Can See Its...

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January 15, 2007 Anywhere the Eye Can See, It’s Likely to See an Ad By LOUISE STORY Add this to the endangered list: blank spaces. Advertisers seem determined to fill every last one of them. Supermarket eggs have been stamped with the names of CBS television shows. Subway turnstiles bear messages from Geico auto insurance. Chinese food cartons promote Continental Airways. US Airways is selling ads on motion sickness bags. And the trays used in airport security lines have been hawking Rolodexes. Marketers used to try their hardest to reach people at home, when they were watching TV or reading newspapers or magazines. But consumers’ viewing and reading habits are so scattershot now that many advertisers say the best way to reach time-pressed consumers is to try to catch their eye at literally every turn. “We never know where the consumer is going to be at any point in time, so we have to find a way to be everywhere,” said Linda Kaplan Thaler, chief executive at the Kaplan Thaler Group, a New York ad agency. “Ubiquity is the new exclusivity.” No consumer, it seems, is too young. Some school buses now play radio ads meant for children. Last summer, Walt Disney advertised its “Little Einsteins” DVDs for preschoolers on the paper liners of examination tables in 2,000 pediatricians’ offices, according to Supply Marketing, a company that gives doctors free supplies in exchange for using branded products. Some people have had enough. Last month, after some “Got Milk?” billboards started emitting the odor of chocolate chip cookies at San Francisco bus stops, many people complained, and the city told the California Milk Processing Board to turn off the smell. And this month the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey cancelled a plan to post ads for Geico at tollbooths and elsewhere around the George Washington Bridge, a deal that was valued at $3.2 million. Politicians and preservationists had raised aesthetic concerns, and some had complained the city was selling the ad space too inexpensively. Yankelovich, a market research firm, estimates that a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with up to 5,000 today. About half the 4,110 people surveyed last spring by Yankelovich said they thought marketing and advertising today was out of control.
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