adrift on a cosmic ocean

Writings on various topics (mostly technical) from Oliver Hookins and Angela Collins. We have lived in Berlin since 2009, have two kids, and have far too little time to really justify having a blog.

Advertising virtually and physically

Posted by Oliver on the 29th of January, 2014 in category Thoughts
Tagged with: adsthailand

I'm on vacation in Thailand at the moment and noticed a correlation here that I hadn't before. So many houses, shanties, shops, restaurants and various other abodes have awnings or coverings made of synthetic material and advertising various products. The awnings (I'm not sure what else to call them, as they provide various different services depending on the needs of the person) provide shade from the sun and in the monsoon months shelter and cover from the rain. They all appear to be originally intended as banner advertisements, but I'm not sure if what I've seen are intended to be advertisements now, or were previously used for advertisement elsewhere and have since been recycled.

Regardless of my lack of understanding of the banner lifecycle, the obvious result is that advertisements are everywhere you look. Typically they are for energy drinks (are Thais that low on energy all the time?) or mobile phone carriers. I've more recently seen some for broadband providers (10Mbps!) and there have been some for scooters but not many others that stick in my brain.

Online we're living in a world where, regardless if you are aware of it or not, often the "consumer" is actually the product. Look at Facebook or any other service provided for "free", but now ad-laden. You are consuming the ads and other companies are paying Facebook to display the ads on the off-chance you might consume their products as well. There has been some backlash over advertising, mainly in the more tech-aware demographics but the general consensus seems to be that those aware of it consider it to be a massive affront to their sensibilities and should be done away with at the source.

Having been in Thailand already almost 7 years ago now, I know that these banner ads have been around since at least that long ago, and probably since much earlier too. Online, all you have to put up with are ads in your field of vision - virtually presented through a window you can measure in centimetres. In Thailand banner ads are all around you, wherever you go, physically present in your world here. Again, I'm not very aware of the culture surrounding them, or the reasons for why they are here, but I don't sense any of the backlash against them. On the other hand, they are providing physical benefits of shade and cover whereas virtual ads online typical give you access to free services such as Facebook (which is really a 1st world luxury).

© 2010-2018 Oliver Hookins and Angela Collins