Gas Station TV is a travesty of modern life. While pumping gas isn’t what I’d call a relaxing activity, it was at least a break from the endless mindless chatter of our heavily commercialized existence. Gas Pump TV took that small mental break from us years ago, and it’s only getting worse: A new report from the Daily Beast details how political ads are starting to pop up on pumps.
Can I just say: Oy. As if unhinged folks slapping “I Did That” stickers on pumps and political groups ambushing people at stations didn’t already make the simple act of refueling your car a pain:
“It’s a captive audience,” a Democratic campaign consultant told The Daily Beast, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of their candidates. “I mean, everyone—rich, poor, in the middle—needs to buy gas, and for a relatively low cost, you can hold their attention while they’re standing at the pump.”
The gas station consoles also allow campaigns to re-run ads they’ve already paid for on social media and TV, the campaign consultant explained. And they offer a significant savings when replacing TV ads, especially in a large metro area, where pricing is similar to the impressions-based model on social media.
In Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams went up with ads in all 12 of the state’s media markets at more than 5,500 gas stations to highlight her position of lifting the state’s 29 cents per gallon sales tax on gasoline.
Alex Floyd, the Abrams campaign’s rapid response director, said in a statement that they were, “[D]edicated to meeting voters where they are—including at the gas pump” where she has advocated extending a suspension of the gas tax through the end of the year.
Floyd said the campaign will continue to use the ads to emphasize “putting money in Georgians’ pockets and not raising taxes,” in addition to suspending the gas tax through the end of 2022.
Because that’s what drivers in traffic need; an inescapable reminder of controversial issues to raise their ire right before getting behind the wheel of their vehicles.
In 2008, the Obama campaign actually had an ad rejected by Gas Station TV, which boast 104 million “viewers” a month. Gas Station TV didn’t want politics cluttering up their attempts to sell you useless shit. It now allows political ads, but nothing negative or what could be considered an “attack ad” per its editorial policy. Since Gas Station TV isn’t actually TV, it doesn’t need to follow the Federal Communication Commission’s standards for equal time for both parties.
It doesn’t really matter if it’s negative or positive, just the mention of certain politicians or issues can generate senseless anger in some Americans. We already deal with politics in our face 24/7. Why can’t we have this one break?