Where Not To Advertise

Advertising pervades most of our waking moments (and likely some of our slumber). So much so that we are getting pretty good at tuning out what we see as sales messages. Desperate advertisers see this as a sign to up the obnoxiousness factor and extent the advertising space into some places it just should not go.

Advertisers should not put messages:
~ In public bathrooms
~ In school cafeterias
~ At the bottom of a cup of coffee
~ On the phone at dinnertime

And lastly, on my food! You think the telemarketing call at dinner is disruptive, imagine staring down at your dinner and finding an advertising message imprinted on your potato chips.

I love Pringles – and not the Ranch, Nacho, Light, Fruity, Blended, or BBQ kind – the original kind. My wife buys them to put in the kids school lunch and hides them from me, but I usually find them before they have been consumed. Picture my disgust when I grabbed a handful and found a co branded message from the Guinness Book of World Records had been sprayed onto every chip. That’s just wrong! I’m not eating these chips and I may have soured on the brand completely (we’ll see)

Note to Kellogs – if you are considering a promotion that features PopTarts and a World Cup Sponsorship with advertisings messages in the icing – don’t.

I may just have to become a non-advertarian.

What’s next, will Chester the Cheetos Cheetah get his own blog?


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  1. You would think with all the health concerns people have with food that spraying messages on to it would frighten people. Even if the sprayed on text isn’t harmful, there’s something that feels unhealthy about it.

    Our food is already plastered with enough pesticides, hormones and God-knows-what-else…I agree, we don’t need it spray painted.

    (As for bathroom advertising, the only time I’ve really enjoyed that is when they put the little TV screens in there. It makes me laugh more than anything else that you can stand at a urinal and watch TV.)

  2. I can think of an example where public bathrooms were used perfectly though: Half.com When they started the advertisements on the urinal puck things “Don’t piss away your money, go to half.com” I mean WOW that’s powerful advertising!!! In general, I agree. Food idea is terrible. At least on the food. On the McDonalds cup is one thing – on the pringles. Ew.

  3. John,
    Unbelievable…I cant believe you haven’t seen http://www.chesterthecheetoscheetasblog.com yet….

    I can imagine the guys in the food lab…”Harry, look, I tweaked the laserjet to spray blue dye #5 on the chips, not just the package lids…we can print advertisment on the chips too!”

    This will soon backfire when the obesity lawyers require each chip to say: “Warning, this chip contains 2g of transfat which will harden your arteries and cause an immeadiate feeling of regret for making poor dietary decisions, followed by a protracted stay in a cardiovascular rehab following a quintuple bypass.”

    I can think of a few other places advertisements don’t belong…. like comments & trackbacks to blog posts – I keep getting hit by sammers for calias etc… I think I’ll check your blog tools for a remedy.


  4. I’m not so sure I agree based on my consumer sampling. Of course, my sampling is limited to my wild and crazy household that looks more like a scene from Walton’s Mountain.

    Four generations here laugh out loud at the jokes on the Pringles. They especially have enjoyed them on the first two camping trips of the season.

    Fun posting, thanks for adding the the conversations!

  5. I have to agree with Ben (above) – Sometimes bathroom advertising can be quite entertaining. I think the experience of reading an ad at the urinal is akin to reading the cereal box during one’s morning stupor. And if the ad funds help keep a public restroom clean, I’m all for it!

  6. I think bottom of a coffee cup ads are fine. A good campaign would use a variety of different ads leading to a discussion of the different ads among people sitting around Starbucks or whatever coffee shop did it. I could see a rainbow of Apple logos on the bottom of coffee cups getting some serious buzz (pun intended).

  7. I also have enjoyed the ads in bathrooms. I thought it was a little odd at first, but it is a good place to get peoples attention. The spray on the chips though does make me not want to eat them. Thanks for the post!

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