Thousands of people all over the world have taken to the streets to demand that advertising saturation of public space be expanded to include private homes.
“It’s a disgrace,” said one protester from Madrid. “Bad enough that society still has ad-free dead spots like morgues and public libraries, but we shouldn’t have to suffer the same indignity in our homes.”
This sentiment was echoed in Trafalgar Square where a huge crowd declared the absence of commodified private space a violation of basic human rights.
“Everyone should have the right to be exposed to adverts at home regardless of their socioeconomic status,” said a starving barefoot student. “Not everyone can afford a telly and a smart phone with internet. People without access to these delivery systems for advertising have less chance of maxing out their credit cards and getting up to their eyeballs in debt. That’s discrimination. We need a new non-exclusionary system.”
In Tokyo, protests turned violent after footage went viral of North Koreans enjoying government radio at home courtesy of their compulsory fixed-line speakers.
“It’s ridiculous,” said a woman dressed as the magic rabbit from Pokémon Go. “The North Koreans are still living in the 1950s, yet every home is fitted with a crackly old state controlled speaker that pumps out government messages all day long and can’t be turned off. If they can do it via such a primitive system then why can’t we? It’s shameful.”
The epicentre of the protest was in New York City where protesters on Madison Avenue were outraged over the advertising industry’s inability to transform the private sphere into a facsimile of Times Square.
“It’s obscene,” said a naked man who’d written “This is how I feel without ads” above his genitals. “They can put a man on the moon but they can’t turn my living room into a giant neon billboard? People get lonely and depressed when they’re not wrapped in the comforting glow of advertisements. The lack of ads inside our homes shows that the authorities don’t give a damn about our psychological and emotional wellbeing.”
Other protestors confirmed that a paucity of ads at home was affecting their mental health.
“I wear clothes emblazoned with corporate logos and my walls are covered in posters advertising everything from sodas to new cars, but it’s not enough,” said one guy. “In summer, the Blu-Tack softens in the heat and the posters peel off. There’s nothing worse than coming home to an apartment with blank walls that force me to be alone with my thoughts for a few minutes while I put the posters back up. Without ads to occupy my mind, I start thinking about things that aren’t even about products or services at all, like mortality and the size of the universe. It’s terrifying.”
Advertising executive Saul Less was also at the NYC protest and agreed that the current situation was intolerable.
“Despite the ubiquity of television and new methods of advertising such as personalised emails and targeted ads via gaming consoles, private homes are still largely ad-free zones,” he said. “It’s a travesty.”
He did however offer a ray of hope.
“At some point technology will become advanced enough to enable a new form of housing where consumers forgo mortgages and rent in exchange for fully digitised smart kennels that display full-spectrum floor to ceiling ads 24/7,” he said.
“Ultimately, ads will cover every square inch of the planet and the very concept of ad-free space will be eliminated altogether. But first we’ll need to work out a way to pass the cost onto the consumer.”