15 August, 2007

Advertising's Next Big Market May Already Be in Your Wallet

Daily Research News said on Nov. 26, 2004, “US businesses will spend an estimated $278 billion on advertising next year, but the advertising industry will drive an estimated $5.2 trillion into the economy.” That was three years ago, and the number keeps growing...a stinkload of money by any standard! And it points to a huge opportunity for our industry. Why just spend this money...advertise on it! Each of those 5.2 trillion greenbacks is a potential billboard targeted directly to the consumer.

Think about it. Betty is standing in line at the check out, waiting to buy her Metamucil and Bran Flakes. She pulls out a few singles and notices a tasteful banner slung across the great pyramid which reads, "Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake!" Reminded of her love for Honey Buns, she violently elbows the elderly gentleman behind her into the magazine rack and sprints for the snack cake isle, adding 4 boxes of Honey Buns and 3 boxes of Kreamies to what would have otherwise been a meager purchase.

Corporate advertising on paper money only makes sense. Potential advertising space is diminishing, and the current glut can overwhelm individual messages. With currency advertising we can target "buy" messages the instant purchases are being made. And we can advertise on a medium consumers want and collect. In what other model could you envision consumers happy to stuff their wallets and purses full of advertising messages?

Advertising churn is another consideration. An ad that's more than a few months old can be considered out of date. But hardly useless. In any case, advertisers would place time sensitive messages on ones and fives, bills that are commonly used and thus frequently reprinted. More permanent or simply brand-centric messages would be printed on the higher, less common bill denominations. In fact, a simple of form of demographic targeting can be performed by placing an advertiser's message on the denominations most commonly seen by the desired population. A bit classist, yes, but effective.

All joking aside, the US Dollar is slipping in value against the Euro, Yen and other currencies. Back when the US was on the Gold Standard, each dollar represented an actual chunk of gold held in the vaults of Fort Knox. Now we use a flat currency system, in which there is no real value backing up a dollar bill's face value. This arbitrary valuation can lead to inflation and other nasty things. I propose creating a system in which the value backing our currency is the ad space potential on the bills themselves. This is a bankable commodity the Federal Reserve and the Mint could harness to create tiers of real value, stabilizing and strengthening our currency and creating a revenue stream for the government.

Right now I have 3 ones, 2 fivers and a twenty in my wallet. Applying complicated algorithms to this sample we can conclude that there are over 456 trillion bills currently in circulation nationally, give or take some unknown amount. With that much potential ad space, it would be unforgivable not to take advantage of it. Be honest with yourself. Aren't you tired of staring at pictures of 200 years dead, wig-clad girly-men? And what's with the freaking pyramid? Let's update our currency to reflect our modern, consumption culture zeitgeist and eliminate our national debt at the same time. Why not put Homer Simpson on the one dollar bill instead of George What's-his-name?

This is the future...let's meet it. In H&R Block We Trust.

--Jason Bloom, Senior Avid Editor

Advertising's Next Big Market May Already Be in Your WalletSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

1 others 'fessed up:

FreeThinker August 14, 2007 at 9:04 PM  

Well, there's already advertising for "God" on US currency! Maybe Honey Buns will pay better ...

"In Honey Buns We Trust"

I like it!

I'm hungry!

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