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Wednesday, July 19, 2006 01:00 am

Pumping out more ads

Prepare to be offended at the gas station – and it’s not just the high prices


Corporate advertisers are concerned — concerned that there still are a few moments in our lives when we hear no ads at all.

Take, for example, when we’re pumping gas. There we are, with our hand on the hose, watching the numbers roll by, and what are we doing? Probably thinking about our plans for the weekend, or thinking about the greed heads who run Big Oil, or maybe not thinking at all — just letting our frazzled minds float for few precious minutes.

What a waste, say advertisers, who’ve calculated that the average time spent pumping gas is four minutes. Multiply that by the millions of us who pump gas, then multiply that by two eyes and two ears for each gas pumper, and — well, the ad guys smell opportunity.

Sure enough, an outfit named Gas Station TV is leaping into this four-minute void in our lives. It’s installing TV sets in the gas pumps of Murphy Oil, which runs the filling stations at Wal-Mart stores. Disney’s ABC television will provide special programming for the four-minute pumping segment — and ABC will also sell the ads that’ll be spaced into each segment. Already such outfits as Pepsi, Goodyear, and Allstate have signed up.

Great. Now, instead of four minutes of blessed silence, we get to spend the time hearing a sales spiel from an insurance company.

By the way, you won’t be able to switch off the TV, so they’ve got you captured. Not to worry though, the CEO of Gas Station TV says: “We will not overadvertise.”

Hey, knucklehead — the very presence of TV ads in a gas pump is overadvertising! And lest you think that these four minutes will be the only intrusion into your few moments of solitude, another company is installing TVs in supermarket checkout aisles.

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