Meg Thomson
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Why the Gas Station TV Screen is a Terrible Idea

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Picture this: You’re traveling alone. Evening is turning into night and you’re almost to your destination, but your gas light pops on. You sigh and pull into the nearest gas station to fill up one last time before you can finally get out of the car and relax. You swipe your credit card, choose “unleaded” on the menu, put the nozzle in your car, and begin to fill up your gas tank.

Suddenly, behind you in the dark, you hear a deep voice bellow over your shoulder. “Hey there,” it says.

You whirl around to see a man’s smiling face on the screen. He begins to go on about the latest deals at your local Pep Boys, or how you could’ve saved a ton of money by switching to Geico.

While this may sound funny to many of you reading it, it’s pretty terrifying when it happens to you in real life. Especially if you’re like me, a woman traveling alone. That story? It happened to me yesterday on my way home from work. Many women fear being approached by a not-so-friendly person while pumping gas. It’s not like you can just jump in your car and drive away in an emergency; your car is refueling.

Gas station TV screens seem to do one of two things to their audience: annoy them or terrorize them. No matter what product you’re advertising, neither of those responses are going to help you sell it.

Americans are bombarded by ads on the daily. In fact, I challenge you to find a time during the day when there is not an advertisement in your line of vision. My tip to advertisers? Choose a different platform. You’re scaring your customers.