Ads in captivity

Travel_channel_airplaneMaybe AdFreak doesn’t get out as much as it should—this blogging thing, we’ve discovered, means that some days our closest personal relationship is with our PC—but we got on an America West flight bound for Phoenix the other day and had our first sighting ever of advertising on the fold-up seat tray. The advertiser, in this case, was the Travel Channel (photo documentation at right).

It didn’t take long for the ad to be obscured by bags of peanuts and cans of seltzer, which got us to thinking how the cash-strapped airlines could really go to town with this in-flight advertising idea. Samsonite ads for the overhead storage bins! Weight-loss ads targeted towards the tightly-squeezed on the seat backs! Sleepeze billboards on the window covers! And of course, Maalox samples in the airsick bags.

Yeah, it would make for an even crappier flying experience, but that has never stopped most marketers we’ve met from seeing the potential in what is probably the world’s most captive audience.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor