Get ready. They're coming. They've got you right where they want you, and they're convinced that you can't escape this time.

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Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown

Get ready. They’re coming. They’ve got you right where they want you, and they’re convinced that you can’t escape this time.

“They” are the big-time advertisers, who’ve been very PO’d at you recently, because you keep finding ways to ignore their come-ons. They’ve tried everything to grab you by the cerebral cortex and make you listen – they’ve got ads on public buildings, in elevators, at gas pumps, in schools, on the Internet… yet, you’re tuning out. Even for TV – the Golden Goose of the 30-second spot – you’ve bought gadgets that let you skip their ads altogether.

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But now they’re targeting an advertising medium that you always have with you: Your cell phone. As one analyst puts it: “Unlike the computer or a magazine or television, the phone is a piece of you.”

Also, since many cell phones have global positioning systems, advertisers can know where you are and pop you with an ad that directs you to a particular store: “Hey, Biff, it’s 8am and there’s a Starbucks half-a-block away. It’s cappuccino time, baby!”

OK, technically, they can’t run one of their text or video ads on your phone unless you invite them in. But if you choose to get, say, sports scores and highlights on your phone from ESPN, or up-to-the-moment reports from the Weather Channel, that’s all the opening they need. ESPN, for example, will start running cell phone ads this year for Nike, Visa, and Hilton hotels.

Another trick is that you’ll start getting offers to send your own text message to, say, Microsoft or Pepsi to receive free or discounted goods – thus inviting them into your cell phone forever.

This is Jim Hightower saying… While you now have to “opt-in” to receive their ads, I assure you that lobbyists for these hucksters are at work right now to twist the law so that you’ll be getting their ads unless you “opt-out.” It’s just the latest in the insidious creep of advertising”in both meanings of the term “creep”).


“Their Ads Here,” The New York Times, January 16, 2006.

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