Spamalot – or maybe not?

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.

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