Bonnie Henry: The future is here, and it's advertising

2014-02-09T00:00:00Z 2014-07-03T12:18:36Z Bonnie Henry: The future is here, and it's advertisingBy Bonnie Henry Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Someday we’ll all be outfitted with contact lenses, even those of us with 20/20 vision. And it won’t cost a dime. In fact, if you don’t really need the lenses, their manufacturers will pay you to wear them.

What’s the catch, you ask? Oh, nothing really, except every 90 seconds or so, an image will flash across your eyeballs, one so brief as to be almost subliminal.

But there it will be, nevertheless. Urging you — depending on age, gender and other demographics — to drink this beer, eat that yogurt, wear those jeans, “be ready whenever the moment is right.” Whatever.

Face it. When it comes to advertising, we’re all subject to an onslaught of unwanted ads. Think you’re so smart whizzing by all those commercials with your DVR option? Think again. Have you noticed how many plugs the networks are giving themselves at the bottom of the television screen, distracting you from the murder/car chase/cooking demonstration unfolding above it? How long do you think it will be before the networks start posting actual commercials in that space instead?

And while those contact lenses may be a few years away, Google Glass is already here, offering the entire Web just millimeters away from one’s eyeball.

Yes, I know Google has indicated there will be no ads at this time on its device. Even so, in 2011 the company, according to businessinsider.com, was “granted a patent for a head-mounted gaze tracking device that would charge advertisers for the number of times users looked at their ads both online and in the real world.”

Meanwhile, those of us still gazing upon the Internet from a distance on our laptops or handheld devices are already a captive audience, thanks to the ubiquitous pop-up ad — one that cleverly tries to dovetail your interests. Click on, say, a cruise site just once, and giant ships heading into ports unknown will glide forevermore onto your laptop screen at every click.

As automobiles become more tech-heavy, advertising is sure to follow. BMW, according to leftlanenews.com, is currently developing a “location-based in-car advertising service.”

In other words, you let your car’s computer know where you’re going and it will indicate what services are coming up as you approach them, from diners to drugstores.

Still unclear is whether towing services and emergency rooms will also be among the services offered, should you stare too long at the ad instead of the road.

Even when you do pull yourself away from the computer screen, there’s little escape. A certain shoe now comes with a beer ad on  its sole, which I suppose is effective at getting the message across to others if you’re good at leaping about or goose stepping.

Out on the street, manhole covers now double as cups of steaming coffee, thanks to well-placed stickers on top. And two indebted college students in England paid off their college loans in a year by offering up their faces to advertisers — at $600 a day — on their website buymyface.com

From the top of one’s head to the bottom of one’s shoes, there’s no avoiding the advertisements, even in that most sacrosanct of places, the bathroom. Gee, I remember a time when the only advertisements you saw in public bathrooms were: “For a good time, call Lola at …”

Now the good times seem to originate at the bottom of a urinal, with the car company Mini Cooper offering a test of, um, driving skills, using certain markers strategically placed. ESPN does the same thing with a tiny soccer ball and goal placed on the urinal’s splash guard.

No word, exactly, on how one directs the ball into the goal.

Bonnie Henry’s column runs every other Sunday. Contact her at Bonniehenryaz@gmail.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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