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12/10/2006 - par Mark Tungate

Last week I got into a very public argument at an advertising festival. The event was the Golden Drum, which is held in Slovenia and is largely aimed at agencies from Central Europe. As well as the competition, there are work­shops and speakers. It was one of these speakers I felt compelled to challenge - in the middle of a crowded conference room.

The speaker was Daniela Krautsack of Mediacom Vienna. Her subject was ambient media. You know the kind of thing : plasma screens in toilets, giant tubes of tooth­paste in city streets, stencils on sidewalks, dogs in branded coats... or, as Daniela put it, « cows in jackets ». Images flashed up on the screen behind her : skyscrapers swathed in giant posters, trains wrapped in advertising, a logo on a rock in New Zealand, a branded field - a barrage of visual pollution. Finally, Daniela said : « And the great thing is that the public loves ambient media. » And here, I had to stand up and disagree. In a world already cluttered with advertising, I think these stunts are a step too far. They encourage the anti-advertising movement that is so strong here in France. More importantly, they do not add value to a brand. They are cheap, they are vulgar, and they ­irritate consumers. Did Apple ever place giant plastic Ipods in the middle of the street ? No, it did not : because Apple is a brand with class.

Maybe you disagree with me ? Feel free to write. Daniela will thank you for it. And perhaps forgive me a little.

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