Thursday, June 19, 2008

Advertising Free Zone could help advertisers? You bet.

I saw this today, and though what a great idea... for everyone! Found on BoingBoing, original is Here.
Mass advertising is restricted. Billboards are categorically banned; advertising in subways, buses, removed. Towns take up "Advertising-Free Zones."
Think about if this actually happened. At first blush it seems like a really bad deal for anyone trying to advertise. However, looking into the future of such a situation, called the long tail on the Internet, It becomes clear that reducing the amount of advertising space available will increase the value of it. This is called scares goods. A long time ago, advertisers had what is revered to as a captive audience. If you were watching television and an ad came on, there wasn't much of an option for avoiding it. Ditto for the first few years of the Internet. Now, the Internet, and your local commute are starting to look like Times Square. There are lots of people who aren't happy about that.
This brings us to the discussion. How can restricting advertisements actually help the advertisers such as the cola companies and car manufacturers? Lets assume that the downtown areas of a large metropolis is an Ad-Free zone. While there is a loss for the advertisers there, that first billboard on the way out of downtown is going to be one of the highest visibility Ads in the city. The shock of leaving the Ad free zone and seeing that first Ad on the way out could certainly boost your awareness of the product. The cost of that single billboard may be higher, but without putting ads on every street downtown the cost may actually be less. So, maybe an Ad free zone would be a good thing. Maybe it's an idea whose time has come.

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