Over the past couple of years, televisions have been sprouting up all over the public sphere and are now considered natural or obvious preconditions to social settings. These spaces include any public domain varying from cafes, universities, department stores, and nightclubs to food courts, bus stations, and subways etc. We rely on the television to provide us with information in order to make appropriate day to day decisions. The most obvious of these decisions would include weather or traffic reports which effect our decisions on what to be prepared for on the Express Way or whether or not to bring an umbrella to work. Accordingly television shows function in a similar fashion. My fear, although I enjoy flashy TV screens is that in twenty years society will not be able to function WITHOUT a TV.
However, as lover of ads more televisions can be seen as optimizing space for more ads. This of course can also be considered as more environmental… but this social obsession with the TV is undoubtedly fueled by advertising. While I’m in sitting, waiting or wishing in the public sphere there are only my thoughts are influenced by my surroundings. Therefore, when I see a small shiny screen in the public sphere, initial reaction is to absorb its content and embrace the moving images because after all this very machine is the same tool I use for entertainment and to make reliable decisions with (i.e. previously mentioned umbrella notice). In Tim Horton’s today I knew exactly what I wanted in the parking lot, or at least I thought I knew. As I got closer to the counter, their TVs caught my eyes and in a moment of sheer distraction I ordered what I saw on TV. In case you were wondering, THAT IS a form of effective advertising, or at least a form of communicating persuasion. I’ll take a leap of faith and say we have all been side tracked by the public sphere TV. Did you gain or loose from it? Did you feel that you were being coaxed in? Did you consider that it is not the same familiar TV you have it home?
As ad people how are we to gage the public sphere reaction to mindless TVs that repeat ads? In the majority of public sphere TVS I’ve seen, its like watching a TV show but without the show… how brilliant. Im observing this television trend as a look into the future and I hope you do too. I think that the TV will become more so the focal point in public spheres and will eventually become more automated.
It would be amazing if perhaps a TV on the subway could scan the person closest to it and then show ads that would be most relevant to that individual based on demographic. A TV could be linked to a large database of ads which could increase reach. Hmmm, just some food for thought