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Captive advertising audience at 30,000 feet

? Colorado paper blogs letters to editor |


| Business opportunity: Devils wing of the Hall of Fame ?

January 18, 2007

Captive advertising audience at 30,000 feet

Stephen Baker

I took a US Airways flight from Pittsburgh to Denver yesterday, and the advertising drove me crazy. It's hard to blame the beleaguered airlines for trying to find someway, any way, to make a buck. But isn't one of the new mantras in advertising that the target audience should find the message either useful or fun? That we shouldn't loathe it?

After all the loud (and necessary) safety messages, I pulled out my newspaper. But the noise got louder, as we were subjected to advertisements about all the destinations, and I mean all, that US Airways could take us to. Later in the flight, we got a long and loud come-on about a new credit card they're offering. I didn't mind so much the coffee advertisement plastered onto the pull-out table. It's the noise imposed on a buckled-in captive audience that seems a bit much.

By the way, I was thinking through the flight about how to register my unhappiness with the ads. Should I tell the cabin attendants and pilot on the way out? It's certainly not their fault. But do they transmit the messages given to them? I figured they probably don't. So I gave them a cheerful good-bye and blogged this complaint. From what I'm learning, companies are using advanced math-based systems to scour the blogs for consumer sentiments about their products and services. We'll see if this one pops up on their screen.

09:57 AM


No, you've got to tell the cabin crew. You've got to give them earache. You don't need to make their lives miserable by getting angry, but you must tell them.

I've lost count of the times I've complained to floor staff of businesses, only to be told 'Oh, well no one's ever complained before!' I'm then made to feel a curmugeon, a grouch, and I thenhate them as well as the business.

I feel a lot better if the employee gets conspiratorial with me and says 'Oh, I couldn't agree more, you aren't the first', I'm definitely going to pass it on'. If they do that, I won't necessarily forget, but I'll forgive them a little.

Posted by: Andrew Denny at January 18, 2007 07:01 PM

I'm thinking that I may note down the names of these advertisers and then write them letters when I get home. "I found your ads to be distracting and annoying, and I intend to never use your product." I'm realllllly looking forward to sending it to the schmucks who advertise in the TSA bins...

Posted by: C. Froggenhall at January 18, 2007 07:53 PM

In the war for eyeballs, the advertisers are always, always looking for the next product placement location. There was a company looking to try and sell ad-space on the back of traffic signs. Another that wanted to advertise on toilet paper. Its crazy.

And bound to get crazier.

Posted by: Erik at January 19, 2007 01:57 PM

I doubt the attendants were any happier than you were about this bombardment. After all they have to put up with it flight in and flight out all day. I would imagine they would be more than happy to relay your irritation upward - so you can be the bad guy and they do not have to bitch at their employer directly.

Best advice, put your earbuds in, turn the volume up and do some reading.

Posted by: Jim Lane at January 21, 2007 07:21 PM

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