I’m a frequent rider of public transit. For the past two years it’s been primarily by light rail, but prior to that I commuted into town by bus. All in all, it’s been somewhere in the neighborhood of sixteen years that I’ve been a daily rider. In that time, I have seen a lot of buses. Working downtown, buses are more common than pigeons; I have never stopped to count how many go by me on any given day, but I would wager I see at least thirty every single day as I walk to and from the light rail station or run errands. Well, I don’t reallly “see” them any longer – they are just part of the background, hurtling down one-way streets and rocketing through just-turned-red lights. And all of them have advertising. Some are simple banners on the sides, and some are full-coach wraps – but either way, the ads surround us from all angles.
For the most part, I rarely see these ads any longer. The other day, though, I began to pay attention to the incredible variety of paid mobile commercials. Ads for movies, plays, TV shows, plumbers, airlines, veterinarians, and tax preparers. Ads for home insurance, carpet installers, health insurance, gyms, car insurance, windshield repair, life insurance, and hospitals. Ads for lawyers, furniture rental places, cellular companies, internet companies, politicians, banks, and the local zoo. Ads for coffee, the Mariners, local colleges, pharmacists, car wash places, major retailers, the library systems, and any number of public services. Ads, ads, ads. If it’s a place that wants my business, chances are pretty good that I’ve seen an ad for them on the side of a bus.
The most amusing to me, however, are the religious ones. What, are they hoping some bloke will be walking down the street feeling lost and alone, and suddenly they see one of these and it all makes sense?
“Have you found God, my son? Why yes, sir – t’was on the side of the 161 Express!” This is right up there with the folks who wave giant JESUS signs on freeway overpasses. What is the point? Is distracting people while they are driving to remind them about Jesus really such a good idea? It cracks me up, I just envision some guy driving along, minding his own business, maybe planning what he’s going to buy at the hardware store, and then BAM! An ad (or sign waver)catches his eye and he slaps himself on the forhead and says, “oh yea, Jesus! Duh! How did I forget?”
Not to be outdone, the atheists claim their fair share as well. A quarter of the population is worth snagging.
Oh, what to believe?? How many people get their religious beliefs from the side of a bus, anyway? I kind of figured people put more thought into it than that, but maybe not.