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The Gaming of Incentive Plans

In-Cabin Flight Ads -- What's the Big Deal?

Nascar This morning's paper featured yet another short article about the coming onslaught of ads in planes and how we'll all be worse off as a result.  Really?  That's a significant problem?  Why?

Sure, we're already bombarded with ads and there seems to be no safe haven so it's easy to pile on and say more advertising is a bad thing...till you consider the benefits.  Think about all the services and entertainment you enjoy every day because of advertising.  I sometimes wish my favorite TV shows were commercial-free but, then again, I can't see paying a fee to watch each of them.

So what if the inside of a plane is about to look more like a NASCAR fender?  I'm either reading something or taking a nap, not staring at the seat back in front of me.  I'm sure I'll notice the ads but it's not like they'll make my trip any less pleasant.  More importantly, if they help reduce the cost of my next ticket, bring it on.  I'd gladly sit in the middle of a bunch of rotating billboards in seat 16C if it means I don't have to pay $15 to check a bag!  (Hey, maybe they ought to sell sponsorship deals like the major sporting arenas do: "This free bag check is brought to you by Microsoft; think kindly of us the next time your PC crashes!")

The airlines should proceed with this plan immediately if they feel it will create a new revenue stream.  I seriously doubt many (any?) travelers will start choosing their airlines based on number of in-cabin ads.  Honestly, can you imagine anyone saying, "well, I know so-and-so has the best fare but I'm tired of all those ads"?  Besides, if one or two start an aggressive campaign the rest will follow suit, and rightfully so.


Michael A. Banks

Sounds okay to me, Joe. Decades of ignoring the ads on just about every T-shirt I see has enabled me to innure myself to ads in general.

Quite often I don't know what a TV ad was pushing, seconds after it's over--although I often remember the pitch, particularly if it involves dogs.

I can't even remember the annoying ads. Like the baby talking. I think there used to be one for Quiznos with that gag, but the current advertiser I can't remember.

Kat J Meyer

Hi Joe: I think the annoyance, amongst the annoyed, results from having paid whatever huge amount of money they've paid, to sit on an overcrowded flight,then being subjected, against their wills, to advertising. I mean, sorry - but, that's just like rubbing salt in the wounds. Sure we're subjected to ads in all kinds of places, but you know what? It really sucks to pay a lot of money for a plane ride-a really lousy, no-frills plane ride, and then be forced to look at advertising (yeah, miserable passenger guy, you ARE having a lousy trip, but guess what, someone is making lots of money off off of you being a member of a captive audience - oh, and enjoy that non-complimentary beverage).
so - maybe ads would be super cool -- if the captive audience were receiving some sort of benefit. say, an ad that corresponds with distribution throughout the cabin of snacks? there's an ad that i wouldn't complain about. there's an ad i would actually appreciate.

Alvin Hutchinson

The question is: Audio or image only?

You can close your eyes, look away, etc. but you can't close your ears.

I agree that if advertiser sponsorship were taken away, we'd pay the full fare for more of the things that we now assume are "free."

But I think that one day soon the medical community will determine a long term public mental health problem with what might be called media pollution. The repeated exposure to certain sounds (cute jingles in the case of advertisements) exacts a cost on a person whether he realizes it or not.

Just as we don't immediately notice when we inhale factory emissions and fuel exhaust, we don't take notice of the deleterious effects of the noise that mass media produces on our psyche. Long term it will undoubtedly contribute to one or another psycho-pathological condition.

We have known for years that smoking is bad for a person but only recently have discovered that riding in the same car with smoker is bad for a person. People used to drive for hours in a car and smoke with the windows rolled up and their children in the back seat. They just didn't know.

I predict that one day the effects of "passive advertisement audio residue" will be shown to have serious health consequences.

Paul Dettman

Agreed, a little. Here in the UK, we already have adverts on buses, tube/subway trains, trams and taxis. What we don't yet have is adverts on 'upmarket' express trains or planes. I don't know why. But would the operators decrease fares or increase service levels in exchange for commercials? No. They would argue it 'helped defray price rises' but basically they would keep the money. So what's in it for the passenger?

Chris Webb

"Good morning from the cockpit, this is your Captain brought to you by UPS. UPS, what can Brown do for you? For those of you on the right side of the aircraft you will notice we are passing over the Grand Canyon..."

I spend a lot of time on planes these days too, and if it helps stabilize fares a little bit and take some off the pressure to continually nickle and dime me for every little service, I'm OK with it.

Bonita Kale

I hate ads. Not every one, but in general, I hate them. I don't watch much TV, because when I start a show, and a bunch of ads interrupt, I lose interest and turn it off. If my eye strays to a sporting event on the TV, almost the only thing I notice is those horrible, ugly ads.

And Paul, in England, my husband and I were total yokels in a railway station. The little swing door had an ad for an airline or something on it, and we thought it might lead to the train to the airport; we were looking for a way out that -didn't- go there. "We have advertising, too," the man said. But that's one place we don't have it in the US.

If air travel gets any worse, they're going to have to supply us with sedatives to make it bearable. More ads? Please, no!

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