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Ads Nauseam

June 08, 1997

There is no way to quantify the amount of advertising that is invading our lives. But clearly, as information becomes cheaper to produce and disseminate, it is accelerating. "The statistics indicate that commercial messages have increased almost exponentially," said David Shenk, author of "Data Smog," which includes these figures:

* The average network television advertisement, between 1965 to 1995, became shorter and more frequent, shrinking from 53.1 seconds to 25.4 seconds. Over the same period, the number of ads per network TV minute increased from 1.1 to 2.4.

* The average American was targeted by at least 560 daily advertising messages in 1971. Twenty years later, that number had risen to 3,000 messages a day.

* Third-class mail in the 1980s grew 13 times faster than population growth.

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