Last week, I tried to count all the ads I saw in a single day. I didn’t make it all the way through 24 hours of my little experiment, but as I was reading the morning news, listening to the radio during breakfast, scrolling on social media, and passing billboards on the way to a coffee shop, I tallied every time I noticed a commercial. By 10:00 a.m., the number was well over 800. Pretty soon I lost count.
As 2022 draws to a close, we are absolutely inundated with ads. Eric Seufert, who runs the digital advertising blog Mobile Dev Memo, coined a phrase to describe the state of the world we’re living in: “everything is an ad network.” That dynamic is changing businesses everywhere as unexpected companies like Marriott start selling ads.
Companies from grocery stores to hotels have realized they’re sitting on a trove on consumer data and have launched the kind of digital advertising systems that used to be reserved for Google and Facebook. There are screens flicking advertising at you in elevators, doctor’s offices, gas stations, and the back seats of New York City Cabs. For just about every surface you can lay your eyes on, there’s a company trying to turn it into an opportunity to show you an ad, and there are engineers all over the world designing innovative technology to make it happen.
It’s only getting more extreme from here. Here are 10 of the worst new places you’re going to see ads in 2023. Happy New Year!