My Shell station has new gas pumps I noticed yesterday while filling up my car. Pumping gas has been a respite from my goal-driven day. Before you get on the road you must pause and pump gas. It’s very Zen. You just pump gas.
But now the new pump had a video screen. LOOK AT AD, it demanded. The pure functional act of pumping gas, my rest stop from the driven mind, had been invaded.
What will be next? Will refrigerators come with video screens with running ads? What about toilet time? Is our consumer culture, now liberated from TV and print, going to consume our private spaces?
LIke pond algae, advertizing is looking for new clear spaces in our lives to fill that last bit of solitude we have left.
Pumping gas used to be just pumping gas. Now it’s pumping ads into me. How much can our minds take?
Commercials create dissatisfaction so they can sell you satisfaction. I remember when pulling up to a gas station was being treated as royalty coming to visit. One guy pumps gas, the other one washes windshield and checks oil and tires, all done with a smile and appreciation. Consumers used to be treated like kings and queens for shopping or flying.
Now the consumer is just an object to be consumed, a being not to be served but something to be squeezed from the last nickel. We live in a culture where everything is just another IT. The Sky People of Avatar.
There has been a gradual shift in our society aways from treating the consumer with respect and extra service to a society the consumes the consumer. Advertising shifted from just telling you about the product, to telling you how dissatisfactory your life is, that you need something, and then the ad tells you what you need. This has created a fundamental dissatisfaction with modern life, with ourselves. We always feel something more is needed.