Ad-saturation at the ballpark inspires the pondering of larger questions relating to marketing and mankind:
Little did a kid in that modest South Dakota ballpark realize that the ads for local businesses painted on the wooden outfield fences were the precursor of a dominant growth industry. In 2005, $385 billion was spent on advertising worldwide, $144 billion of it here in the United States. That kind of investment reflects an industry with the ability to not only reach us wherever we go – in movie theatres, at the mailbox, via evening telephone calls, even in classrooms – but also to defend its profits through government policy.
The effects of advertising at today’s levels of saturation and sophistication certainly justify a defensive posture by the industry. Courts have upheld limits on cigarette and alcohol advertising, and a 2004 Kaiser Family Foundation study suggested that food advertising targeting children was an important factor in the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country. On a personal level, no one, with the tragic exception of the youngest – and future – generations, has to be told what a nuisance commercial messaging has become in our lives.