I arrived this afternoon in Manhattan for FutureTest 2008. It started, as all thing New York begin, with the taxi ride from JFK to Midtown. In the seatback was an multifunction LCD screen that displayed ads, a real-time map, information about the city, ads, payment information, ads, a news ticker, and more ads.
You could turn the TV screen off entirely, but if it was on, it showed ads continuously. According to the New York Times, all 13,000 NYC taxis are expected to have on-board TV by March. During my half-hour trip, nearly all the ads were for Chase credit cards and Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Were they trying to tell me something?
When I got to the Hilton New York, what did I see? LCD screens everywhere. In the new self-service check-in kiosks (showing ads). At each station on the registration desk (showing ads). Placed randomly throughout the lobby (showing ads). And, of course, in each elevator (showing ads).
Is there no escape?