Adzookie is a free mobile advertising network with a plan to get noticed. The company’s CEO, Romeo Mendoza, is looking for houses to turn into Adzookie billboards. In return for the exterior surface rights to the house, Adzookie will pay the homeowner’s mortgage for the duration of time–anywhere from three months to one year–that the billboard is in place.
Michael Bevel of Forbes doesn’t care for the idea.
The company has already recieved over 1,000 applications, prompting Adzookie’s CEO, Romeo Mendoza, to offer this quip to CNNMoney: “It really blew my mind. I knew the economy was tough, but it’s sad to see how many homeowners are really struggling.”
Sad — but not prohibitively sad. Mendoza hasn’t thought better of his company’s program that takes advantage of the desperation (or, sure, in some cases, greed) of homeowners struggling to stay in their houses and out of foreclosure. And for those in love with the free market, of course Mendoza shouldn’t think better of his plan. If Mendoza has paint and I have a need + flat surface, then why shouldn’t we make an ad-covered house-baby?
This is one of those stories that reminds me how incredibly broad the advertising business is. There are people who believe deeply in craft and in raising the bar in this business, and there are others who ask small towns to change their name for money, or 10 years of free TV, as the case may be. Then last fall two men in Iowa tattooed a radio station’s call letters on their faces for money. Now this.
Advertising is at once a carnival and a craft, and it’s all happening under one big tent. The carnival barkers and shameless promoters couldn’t care less about the craftsmen, nor about the damage they do to the industry (I suspect those concerns are not even on their radar). On the other hand, the craftsmen can’t get far enough and fast enough away from the carnies. Yet, there is no real escape. To people outside the industry it’s all advertising, and it’s almost always bad.