Clean City, Clean Mind

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Life in Los Angeles doesn’t make for an easy media fast. There are advertisements EVERYWHERE! Shopping cart handles and beach trash cans; the plate of the car you’re driving behind. For all you ladies out there, the only reason your guy knows about the 2-for-1 special at the local restaurant is because it was advertised to him as he stood there peeing in the bathroom. The worst offenses are the television-like digital billboards that flash multiple ads within seconds. Pretty challenging being on a media fast when there is a 60 foot TV slightly off to your right as you wait at a stop light.

White Billboard Prior to my media fast, I didn’t think twice about all the advertisements. You might say I was desensitized to all of it. Heck, marketing is a perk of being in a free society. It’s a privilege to have Coca-Cola telling me what polar bears are drinking in the Arctic. Yet, why am I getting so frustrated that I can’t avoid the bombardment? Reminds me of being in Las Vegas and not being able to escape the smell of cigarette smoke.

Not unlike second-hand smoke, I don’t want to be forced to “inhale” what they are selling.

Maybe I should be more compassionate? It’s tough out there for a marketer. They have to stay one step ahead of us. We, their audience, are constantly becoming more and more sophisticated to marketing ploys. Anyone noticed the changes that took place on facebook after the company went public? Now, if you, as a subscriber to facebook, “like” a company that just happens to be paying for advertisement, it shows up very prominently in the main feed of your friends as YOU advertising for that company. You’re the new spokesperson for Allstate Insurance and you’re not even getting paid for it!

Many cities have ordinances against billboards and the locations businesses can market their goods.  In 2006, the mayor of San Paulo, Brazil passed a “Clean City Law” banning all outdoor advertisements. Can you imagine if that happened in Los Angeles or in your city? What would life be like without all the visual pollution?

My cure for the advertisement blues? As much nature as possible. From the beach to the mountains, Los Angeles has a lot to offer in terms of nature.

Although it isn’t realistic to go truly media free living in modern society, I do dream of a time I can walk to my local restaurant without knowing which movie is the #1 comedy of the year. That would be amazing!

How do you decompress from the marketing machine in your city?

photo credit: Huw Barto

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