The growing mania for "sponsored cities"—slapping advertising on all manner of municipal real estate—can lead to only one place as the economy continues to sputter. Soon, we'll have advertising inside our homes. Forget about the messages that ride on cable wires and satellites feeds into our various household screens. These ads would reside in the structures themselves, powered by chips beaming precision-targeted pitches onto our walls and ceilings. Messages would be tailored by income level and family size, based on information from lease and mortgage applications. Body-heat sensors, retina readers and activity monitors would trigger highly sophisticated ad servers. Three sleepless nights would lead to ads for insomnia remedies flashing through the hallway. Persistent raids on the fridge would drive promos for snacks or weight-loss centers. They'd be tasteful and quiet for the most part, with the exception of Castrol's raucous Scotsman in high-def for the garage. Let's say, one ad per occupant per room per day, in exchange for 10 percent off the rent or mortgage or half-price utilities and free WiFi. Times are tough, and I'd be willing to try it. Better to have ads on the walls than mice running around inside them.
—Posted by David Gianatasio