If you’ve pumped gas at a recently updated gas station, you have most likely seen the ever-growing fad – small screens located at eye level of each individual pump. The first time I encountered one of these pumps and saw the screen turn from the traditional debit/credit card questions to advertisements, I was taken aback. What’s the point of paying to develop an even shorter advertisement to be played at a gas station pump?
The idea of placing print ads at gas station pumps is nothing new, but these TV like quality video advertisements certainly are. The strategy behind this type of digital marketing is smart and savvy – present captive customers with a constant flow of advertisements at a place they will be forced to visit regularly, but at what point does the marketer no longer respect the personal space of the consumer?
While I understand that marketers and advertisers are looking for every opportunity to present their products to consumers in an increasingly competitive world, there has to be a limit. Just this weekend, I happened to hit the empty mark on my gas tank next to an updated station and was immediately assaulted with ads once I swiped my credit card and picked up the handle. For parents driving countless kids around, or anyone just looking to get out of a noisy car, that 5 to 10 minutes could have been their happy time of silence to decompress which has now been transformed into an uninterrupted roll of loud advertisements for products they most likely neither need nor want.
Digital marketers walk a thin line between presenting the great aspects of their product while still knowing the limits of the consumer’s attention span. As they seek to increase their sales and transactions, they also must recognize that certain advertisements put off potential customers and, in my opinion, a gas station pump is a place to lose rather than gain customers. For those trying to sell me health insurance or a new phone plan while I’m pumping my gas, please know that I am spending more time focusing on hitting the exact $10.00 mark than listening to your 15 second ad so please, let me pump my gas in peace.