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Corporate advertisers are concerned. Not concerned that they’ve so inundated our brains with so many ads that we now automatically tune them out. No, no, they’re concerned that there are now certain moments in our lives when we hear no ads at all.
For example, pumping gas. We stand there with our hand on the hose while the tank is filling, and what are we doing? Probably thinking about our plans for the weekend, or thinking about how the greedheads of Big Oil are laughing at us as we pump out more windfall profits for them, or maybe not thinking at all – just letting our frazzled minds float for few precious minutes.
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What a waste, say advertisers, who’ve calculated that the average time spent pumping gas is four minutes. Multiply that by the millions of us who pump gas, then multiply that by two eyes and two ears for each gas pumper, and – well, the ad guys smell opportunity.
Sure enough, an outfit called Gas Station TV is leaping into this four-minute void in our lives. It’s installing TV sets in the gas pumps of Murphy Oil, which runs the filling stations at Wal-Mart stores. ABC television will provide special programming for the four-minute pumping segment – and ABC will also sell the ads that’ll be spaced into each segment. Already, such outfits as Pepsi, Goodyear, and Allstate have signed up.
Great. Now, instead of four minutes of blessed silence, we get to spend the time hearing a sales spiel from an insurance company.
By the way, you won’t be able to switch off the TV, so they’ve got you captured. Not to worry though, the CEO of Gas Station TV says, “We will not over-advertise.”
This is Jim Hightower saying… Hey, Knucklehead – the very presence of TV ads in a gas pump is overadvertising! And lest you think that these four minutes will be the only intrusion into your few moments of solitude, another company is installing TVs in supermarket checkout aisles.
“Is gas pump TV ready for prime time?” Austin American-Statesman, June 6, 2006.