Corporate litter on the beach

Time for another journey into the Far, Far, Far-Out Frontiers of Free Enterprise.

Today, Spaceship Hightower takes you to the increasingly-alien world of beaches. The seashore is supposed to be a place to get away from it all -- to soak-up some rays, catch a wave and chill out.

But these days, our beaches are just another place for advertisers to bombard us with glaring promos for their products. From sunscreen to beer, from cars to clothing, companies plaster ads all over the boardwalk, emblazon them on beach umbrellas, shout them at us from boomboxes, and fly them on banners behind droning airplanes.

But now comes the ultimate intrusion on beach serenity: A Mr. Patrick Dori has invented a steamroller-type contraption that imprints brand-name logos and slogans directly onto the sand -- so the beach itself becomes an ad! The New York Times reports that Dori's device can stamp a continuous line of 4-foot-by-6-foot ads down the entire length of a beach.

His first customer has been Skippy Peanut Butter, which has had 5,000 imprints of its label stamped along the full length of the beach at Seaside Heights, N.J. And in an amazing demonstration that they don't have a clue, Dori and Skippy alternate each of their peanut butter ads with a "public service" message saying, "Please Do Not Litter"! Hello. Stamping ads on our beaches is littering!

Of course, the logos get trampled during the course of the day, but Dori's machine is back the next morning, stamping-out a fresh line of Skippy labels. Skippy's promo director recently surveyed the beach and told the Times he was very pleased to see thousands of people in the midst of his sand ads: "If they're on the beach thinking of Skippy, then that's just what we want."

Who cares what he wants? The beaches are for people, not corporations.

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