|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 20th century?Fry: Well, sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines and movies and at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and T-shirts and written in the sky. But not in our dreams!
—Futurama, "A Fishful of Dollars"
Something of a stock Dystopia recently, a popular depiction of a future where consumerism has gone mad shows a world where it is impossible to do anything - even eat, sleep or go to the bathroom - without being told by a chirpy computer screen that Soylent Soy is Crunchtastic, Brand X pillows are 20% More Awesome than your current one and unless you buy the Flushomatic 10000, there's a good chance you'll accidentally kill yourself.
The adverts can take the form of Blipverts, Sex Sells, Enforced Plugs, The Man Is Sticking It to the Man, Subliminal Advertising, Trope Co Trope of the Week, May Contain Evil and the Ridiculously Loud Commercial. Often leads in-universe Ad Nauseam, when the barrage of advertising overwhelms the population.
- Gorsky and Butch did it as a one-shot gag in a Star Trek parody - one of the crewmen comes from a race of Board, who can assimilate any surface into advertising space. Cut to the captain staring at his red and black fleet uniform now turned into Marlboro logo.
- In Transmetropolitan, there are advertisements in your dreams.
- Disturbingly, there really is technology in development that can actually do this.
- Idiocracy uses this trope heavily: in 2505 politicians are paid to fill their speeches with Product Placement, all clothing has corporate logos on it, and even names mostly consist of products (the president's middle name is "Mountain Dew").
- In Minority Report, walking down the street has become a hyperstimulating nightmare, as talking holographic advertisements use retinal scans to sell directly to you. Constantly.
- Almost all buildings in Blade Runner feature an animated advertisement that shows a geisha taking some pills that plays constantly.
- WALL-E has this, to an extent. There are enormous television screens everywhere, which presumably are intended to share information with the people but generally are just covered with advertisements for Buy n Large and the Axiom space liner.
- On the former Buy n Large website, the company claims to have bought and licenced north. Compasses now point you towards "Buy n Large North". They call this Directional Advertising.
- The Ur Example might be H. G. Wells' The Sleeper Awakes, written between 1898 and 1910, where the London of the 2100s is covered in advertising hoardings. Especially the churches.
- This trope is used in the Frederik Pohl novels The Space Merchants, The Merchants' War and The Merchants of Venus.
- Fritz Leiber's The Last Letter is this, where citizens are confronted with billboards, radio jingles, mail, and even phone calls which feature nothing but advertisements.
- Ray Bradbury's The Murderer features a man futilely destroying the myriad loudspeakers, radios, TVs, etc., which endlessly broadcast commercials at the populace.
- Feed is set in a world where people can have tiny computers implanted in their heads. Advertisments are then pumped directly into their brain.
- Robert Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars. While on Venus people are constantly barraged by ads. Podkayne and Girdie even have a hologram of a devil appear inside their taxi and try to get them to buy an addictive drink called Hi-Ho. The company that makes it pays the taxi company to force the ads on their captive customers.
- In the Lensman verse, among most sentient species it's considered slightly shameful (akin to losing a video game on Super Easy mode) to notice an advertisement. Such advertisements extending to things that follow you as you drive, or even create letters of fire in the sky. For cough drop ads.
- In The Unidentified by Rae Mariz, Katey (aka "Kid") goes to a school that is run by corporations. They monitor the students' activities for market research.
- In Richard Morgans novel Altered Carbon the advertising in the slums uses such intrusive methods that the cabs have some sort of screening technology to filter them out and protect the passengers. When the main character asks for the filter to be lowered so he can get a feel for the area, he's bombarded with a seething mass of subliminal and semi-hypnotic advertising, mostly for narcotics and prostitutes.
- In Snow Crash, neon advertizing is so inescapable that they've coined a term ("loglo") for the everpresent reddish light around a city. Its sort-of-sequel The Diamond Age is a world where microtechnology has made advertizing literally ubiquitous, and one character made his fortune by realizing you could advertise on chopsticks.
- In the novelisation of Red Dwarf, the mission of the Nova 5 (the ship the crew eventually found Kryten on) was to write a Coca-Cola slogan in the sky by blowing up hundreds of stars into supernovas.
- Most sophonts in the galactic community of Troy Rising have been fitted with implanted computer/communications technology. The newly-implanted (which for most species except humanity means children/adolescents) tend to rely on external A Is shielding them from/proxying local hypernet access until they learn how to use their implant's pop-up blockers, or risk sensory overload.
- The Ray Russell short story "The Room" takes it to the degree of ads being printed on money and on toilet paper.
- The second episode of Black Mirror, "15 Million Merits" depicts a future where every wall is covered in Xbox 360-powered flatscreen TVs playing a nonstop stream of adverts for talent shows, gameshows and porn. They can be skipped - but doing so costs the viewer money - and while an advert is playing the door to your flat locks itself. Looking away from the TV earns loud tones and a voice demanding that you RESUME VIEWING RESUME VIEWING RESUME VIEWING.
- The David Firth segments in Charlie Brookers Screenwipe show a future where the year 2008 (the segment was first aired in 2007) is bought by a marketing company which then forces everyone on the planet to end their conversations by linking arms and declaring "This conversation was brought to you by X".
- In the world of Shadowrun, advertising has long since moved off the physical plane and into the virtual. Unfortunately, since the vast majority of the population is wired into Augmented Reality, this means that about 90% of the world as they see it is bombarded with advertising. Companies that can afford spirit-binding magi can even send advertisements into the Astral Plane.
- In the Mega Corp-dominated future of Strangereal, as depicted in Ace Combat 3 Electrosphere, company logos will be slapped onto everything, even the wings and tails of air superiority fighter jets.
- In the NoCoZo of Orions Arm a common way to earn credits is to have animated adverts tattooed on your body.
- Cracked gives us photoplasty contest "The Terrifying (Inevitable) Future of Advertising".
- Futurama uses and to some extent parodies the trope, as seen in the page quote. In the future, adverts can be beamed into people's dreams in the form of gamma radiation, effectively filling them with product placement.
- In the The Simpsons episode "Holidays of Future Passed", it seems they have figured out how to make pop-up ads out of the stars themselves!