Advertising is EVERYWHERE

Mobile phones are at the top of the slippery slope to societal chaos. Not only do they keep track of all our movements, contain important data which we think is privately shared between friends and hold the secrets to each of our undoing. They have leeched their way into every compartment of our life. Much like advertising. But maybe one of these necessary evils holds the key to getting rid of the other one . . .

There are still a few, solitary places in life where mobile phones are banned. There’s the theatre. There’s the hospital. And there’s the cinema. Yet, despite their best efforts, it is incredibly difficult to get a cinema audience to turn off their phones (whether you think it is necessary or not).

Funnily, many of the statements used about the mobile phone pervading society are similarly found in complaints about advertising. Yet advertising could hold the key to changing mobile phone behaviour.

Whenever you enter one of these technologically-backwards areas, you are confronted with the same (if not very similar) messaging to turn off your phone. Maybe it is a monotone voiceover. Or maybe it is that short audio commercial featuring all the different ringtones going off and an obnoxious ‘shusher’ silencing them. When it comes to these advertisements, there are so few of them that they are all old news that has faded into the background of comfortable stimuli, no longer attracting any attention because there’s nothing new . . . That is until Edward Snowden gets involved!

Edward Snowden is at the centre of a new biographical movie by legendary film genius Oliver Stone. A character who understands the destructive nature of the digital environment and constantly goes out of his way to reiterate these dangers.

In a moment of genius advertising, this mobile phone-conscious celebrity has targeted this boring moment of the cinema-going experience for his movie’s latest round of effective advertising. Effective in two ways.

Firstly, it is unexpected to see advertising at this point in the movie-going experience. Patrons are ready for the mobile phone announcement and all of a sudden they have Oliver Stone staring down the camera discussing the dangers of mobile phones to society. The fact that they will be our undoing. All of a sudden, it is a new stimulus. Something unexpected which is certainly worthwhile paying attention to.

Secondly, it amps up the mobile phone announcement. It no longer feels like we are living in a dictatorial society where cinema owners are carrying out their vendetta against mobiles. All of a sudden, we are doing ourselves a lifesaving favour to protect our privacy and ensure our safety in this new dystopian technological future. We are part of a bigger, underground movement . . . even though we are actually just turning off our phones.

While I may not agree with the concept, this execution is making turning off your phone exciting in a way that could even sway me, the everlasting advocate for mobile phone integration!