HIGHTOWER: Free Enterprise Ads
Time for another journey into the Far, Far, FAR-OUT Frontiers of Free Enterprise.Today's voyage takes us into the boundless world of: Advertising. Where fools fear to tread, ad agencies are willing to tromp and stomp.Is there anywhere we can be free of the blare and glare of ads? Already, such uniquely public, non-profit and non-commercial events as the Olympics and the national political conventions have become just another billboard for Coca-cola, AT&T and a host of other marketeers.Look! Up in the sky. It's a bird, it's a plane, it's . . . a McDonald's ad? Yes, there even is a ploy to send advertising satellites into orbit, so corporations can compete with the stars and the moon, beaming their logos and advertising slogans back to earth. The "Big Blue of IBM" will compete with the Blue Moon of Kentucky. How romantic.Corporate ads are being pitched to your 3rd grader in the classroom, too, and they are even being broadcast on tiny screens on gas pumps while you fill your tank: "Hi, after you tank-up here, why not stop-in and get a 6-pack of Budweiser and a Slim Jim . . ."Do we need this aggrevation?Need it or not, advertisers simply are not going to leave any space uncluttered as long as there is a buck to be made by slapping an ad on it. Take supermarkets -- already, ads are on their shopping carts, on the shelves and hanging from the ceilings. What's left? Of course . . . the floor! Sure enough, Safeway and Winn-Dixie are among the chains beginning to rent-out their floor space for ads. For about $75 a month, Coca-Cola, Spam, Cheeze Whiz, you-name-it can rent a floor tile with their name on it. I tell you, if they keep it up, you won't be able to find the food because the ads will be in the way.They can't stoop any lower than ads on the floor . . . can they?