April 28, 2008

Advertising “scalable” to your every need…ugh…

It seems like every time somebody comes along with “the next big thing,” I think…”junk,” and say so, and then they wind up making zillions of bucks. So, do yourself a favor, short my sentiments here, and go glam on to as much stock in this as you can squeeze into your IRA, mattress, whichever you have left.

In yet another attempt to stick it’s fingers in the money goo, Google not long ago teamed-up with fueling system supplier Gilbarto Veeder-Root to equip Internet-enabled gas pumps with the Applause Media System, featuring Google Maps. The setup is supposed to, among other things, allow lost motorists to find themselves, hungry road warriors to feed themselves (and save money doing it with printable coupons), and sleep depraved drivers to scroll around a local map in search for a cot, and free HBO.

What’s wrong with this picture? Well, the top one is just fine, with my edits. But the unedited version, just above, and this whole idea – here’s my take.

Firstly, with gas over $4.00/gallon, you’ve got more money than sense than to be driving, let alone plan a trip without knowing where the best gas prices can be found. OK, excuse – you were in a hurry when you left, and now the battery in your Blackberry is dead. What’s to stop you from pulling up to this web-pump and surfing over to GasBuddy just to make sure Omar inside there is not gouging you, when gas can be had at three-cents cheaper across the street? No foul here, I mean everybody will tell you there is no money to be made at gas pumps, they are merely loss-leaders to get you inside to buy a pack of “square-nabs,” that’s where the real money is.

I guess on a practical level, if your Blackberry truly is dead and you are wayward, this “innovation” could be a godsend. Getting lost out there is brutal. Nobody knows where they are. It’s like, they know they will not get, nor keep, a job at a gas/convenience store unless they act directionally challenged. It’s a rule, printed in the 7-11 employee handbook. It might even be an Arabian sub-terror plot to keep you lost to buy more of their gas.

Talk about frustration and possible road rage, ever get this – “Hmm, I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never heard of I-40, sorry. Bubba might know, but he’s on dinner break.” You get so upset, you wind up buying gas or “square-nabs” just to calm the nerves. Stupid? It works. They get the sale.

Another reason this thing is just plain dumb relates to patience, or our lack thereof. Waiting in line for anything just plain sucks. We are talking silent wishes for a drive-by shooting of the idiot in front of you with nothing better to do than Google for directions to the best route to discover the “World’s Largest Pecan.”

Maybe though, after a tough day on the thirsty trail, you decide to print out and use that gratuitous 5%-off coupon at the Motel 6, and kick back with the free in-room color TV. Maybe then you’ll have a greater grasp of the local 7:00 “action” news blurting, “Elderly couple flattened at local gas station, right after a word from our sponsor; Google.”

“Breaker-Breaker, good buddy. Howzit lookin’ over your donkey?”

Yeah, gas prices hurt. Check out these peeps fuming in line for the “crisis” at 81 cents/gallon. If you were rich, before you could even get to the “square-nabs,” you might have passed the time untangling the tape in your eight-track installed by your bro’inlaw, or rappin’ on the CB radio. “What’s a Blackberry, Internet…huh?” Some things are a bit better, I suppose.



  1. I need help to figure out What this means for my final project???? Can anyone help me???

  2. Well, i wouldn’t be surprised if 81 cents bought just about as much in ’79 as 4 bucks buy today. You know the old story- the more things change, the more they still suck (or something like that, i might’ve gotten that expression slightly wrong)!!

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