To brighten up the school run this morning we decided to count ads. I thought we might get a dozen, but little miss eagle eyes sitting beside me managed to clock up exactly 60, in just 10 minutes. Vans, bus-sides, Adshels, decals, pub banners, panda banners, window posters, and so on.
On the way back I was thinking, am I really exposed to a promotional message every 10 seconds, every morning? And if so, at what rate does it continue?
Next stop was the gym. I’ll keep counting, I thought. Two hours later I’d amassed 17 tv ads, 22 radio commercials, and 12 wall-posters. Running total 111 (no pun intended).
Time for double-caramel latte to replace the lost calories, while I read the two complimentary newspapers. 83 display ads bring my cumulative figure to 194.
So, it’s barely 10.30am and I’ve not even opened Outlook. I dread what’s coming as I fumble for the MacBook. Ah – 38 emails. On closer inspection there’s one creative brief, 4 late-night staff messages, an old request from the IPM that I’ve been ignoring, and the rest… spam. New total 226, and still over three-quarters of a day to bedtime.
But, hold on. As I check through the ‘spam’ a little more discerningly than usual, I realise that all but 3 are either from organisations of which I’m a member, or concerns from which I buy, like Amazon, and Interflora. And the other 3 are photographic studios trying, reasonably enough, to catch my eye.
I might be heading for a daily total in excess of 1,000 unsolicited commercial messages, but do the targeted gems in my inbox really deserve the epithet ‘spam’? Sure, thanks to a combination of Apple and our firewall I don’t get the Viagra treatment – but I’m fast coming to think that the spam’s not inside my computer, but everywhere else around it.