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May 4, 2011
Screens, Screens, Everywhere
So, I finally got an iPad. Oh. My. God. And I thought the iPhone was addicting. With my iPad, I’ve already caught up on all the missed first season episodes of 30 Rock (via the Netflix app), watched a live baseball game while my kids and iCarly had taken over the real TV (Optimum app), started two novels (iBooks app), chatted with friends in various states (FaceTime) and sliced up all kinds of flying fruit (Fruit Ninja app). So there you have it—I now have another reason never to look up. The iPad is the newest member in a mini collection of screens, which also includes a desktop, a laptop, two TVs, and three Nintendo DS game systems that seem to be always in a child’s hand. That’s a whole mess of screens.
You know what I haven’t done on my newest screen? Volunteered to watch an ad. I know. I’m killing the industry that pays for it all. For shame. But you can’t blame advertisers for a lack of effort. I’ve had to tap a “skip this ad” button on several iPad pages. I’m sure what the fine people of (insert company) have created is a fine digital experience for an iPad user such as myself, but dammit, that’s not getting me to the New York Times Op-Ed section any sooner.
It’s ironic. There was a time when your only screen sat in your living room, and you couldn’t wait to get home to watch whatever was on it: the news, bad dramas, corny comedies, commercials, the test pattern, everything. Now, people are carrying their own personal screens everywhere, and there’s less advertising being consumed, not more. However, with the growing need of free WiFi, don’t be surprised if non-skippable pre-roll ads creep onto your screen of choice just as your connection is made. Just as TV was “free” for years thanks to advertisers, the WiFi networks can also generate a revenue stream for those who use it wisely.
So you may need to go online at the airport, but first: a message from Chik-fil-A, located in the B terminal. Ready to hunker down on your PowerPoint at Starbucks? First, you must know about their new limited edition the iced triple mocha latte. Stuck in the courthouse waiting for jury duty? The law firm of Whathisname, Whatsername, and Someotherguy can meet all your legal needs. Advertising lives to see another day.
The iPad has thrust us into age of tablet computers and large format portable screens. We’ll just have to see if advertising can live up to the challenges of this space in a new and interesting way. I think it has to, unless it wants to go the way of the Palm III. Or IV.

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Brad Mislow is a New York-based ACD in both traditional and digital media. He has worked on Citibank, Toyota, AT&T, Mercedes-Benz, the U.S. Army, American Express, Hershey Foods, Unilever, DHL, Kraft Foods, Kodak, Amtrak, Miller Lite, and Post Cereals. For a look at his work and more articles like this one, go to bradmislow.com.

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