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The World Service? Another step closer to Newsnight.

Yes, I think you're right. It's all about expectation. Like being at a party and finding yourself suddenly being sold to by the person you are chatting with who seemed so interesting a moment ago. Oh drat, my drink is empty -can I get you anything?

I have this old thought I have probably told you before about the ethics of advertising. It says that advertising should benefit the consumer even if they chose to ignore it or never see it in that the revenue does something positive for them - free television channels, subsidised or free newspapers, regular rubbish collections, transport improvements that kind of thing. My concern abot urban spam is that it benefits no one but the advertiser. Occasionally it might raise a titter like the odd 118 running shirt but on the whole it is a very selfish activity whereas advertising shares the wealth.

I'm not convinced that we can't filter urban spam. Hong Kong looks like this almost everywhere.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikesten/234342481/

It's excessive and over the top but after a while, being sold to at every opportunity in HK becomes normal. That's not to say it's good but personally I find traffic jams and cars that pollute our air, infinitely more obscene than annoying ads or a financial consultant at a party.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yayinko/61467982/

Just my opinion of course. Best from Bangkok.

It's an interesting point you, and richard, raise about the value of advertising to the context that surrounds it i.e. ads in a mag or newspaper help pay for the overall content experience of mag or newspaper etc. What's different about this advertising in urban space is that very little of the revenue - if any - is going back towards the context i.e. the urban experience. I imagine some of the adshel advertising in London might hit, say, Transport for London, but I'm not sure. Certainly most of this information, such as that 'projected' from shops for example, will not generate any revenue for the street in which it resides. It'd be great if advertising did provide some actual funding to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the street ... Just as newspaper ads help pay for the context of the newspaper. Hmmm.

Now I don't know if this is correct - or indeed I am setting myself up for a fall - but I would have a fairly large bet that most 'urban spam' has been fuelled by media agencies 'adding value' to clients rather than traditional creative agencies. Correct me if I am wrong of course (waiting for left hook from Faris) but how many of these 'ideas' are from traditional agencies? Hardly any I bet as we are still going through the painful realisation of the 'Great Reel' not necesarily being the panacea to all the client's business objectives let alone an ad on a coffee cup or table top in Oxford Street.

Most of the urban spam I would venture is the result of 'brainstorms' around 'customer touchpoints and journeys' where the budget does not allow for traditional media solutions to be deployed but the media agency has a 'few ideas' fuelled by a recent presentation from a paper cup manufacturer/printer etc.

What would be interesting is for Russell to host a gallery of the worst cases and to then attribute the 'work' to the agencies responsible. Now that would be fun...

"I have this old thought I have probably told you before about the ethics of advertising"

I think it has nothing to do with ethics. I just happen to think interuptive advertising dos not really work even 1/10th as well as advertisers thing and annoying people is poor business.

"My concern abot urban spam is that it benefits no one but the advertiser"

If someone buys the product, then it benefits them too (or they would not have bought the product).

However I am abit unclear on what you mean by advertising "sharing the wealth"... in many ways that is the big problem I have with (most) advertising: it shares the wealth with advertising agencies when a more direct engagement marketing approach works bets when done in-house. One does not start a company to share wealth but rather to try and amass it :-)

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