Polluting the Sky with Logos

Special Effects guy Francisco Guerra has developed a machine that creates lighter-than-air foam that he intends to offer as advertising media. The AP story (Company floats ads in ‘clouds’ shaped like corporate logos) begins with the following.

Picture the Manhattan skyline filled with Nike swooshes. Or the golden arches of McDonald’s gently drifting over Los Angeles.

Or picture someone shouting “buy my overpriced shoes” at you constantly as you walk down the street. Imagine visiting Yosemite’s Halfdome and smelling the unmistakable fragrance of processed “burger meat” that only comes from McDonald’s. No thanks.

It’s interesting that the article seems to focus mostly on the possible biological problems from the technology and only hints at the horrible experience for people who might like to enjoy looking at the natural sky rather than be pummeled with brand awareness campaigns. The technology sounds cool and I can see how it might make a visit to Disneyland or a concert better, but the idea of spewing out trademarked logos into the skies of cities is bankrupt.

Marketers would be well advised to give up on the archaic idea of interrupting people they hope to be customers. It’s taken awhile, but we’ve adapted to ignore that crap. Yes, I know what McDonald’s is. No, I would never eat there. Stop reminding me you exist.

Modern advertising needs to offer a fair trade of values. Tell me something new that will help me and I will buy it from you. That’s the Google AdWords model. It’s made Google a lot of money. The marketers in dirtworld who figure out how to do the same thing will enjoy success, too.

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