Political fight at the pump

With high gas prices a wedge issue in this year’s Presidential election, Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign was planning to take their message to the pump, literally. But then came the news that Gas Station TV refused to run any political ads on their network of gas pump televisions.

When you watch the ad the Obama campaign claimed would run on GSTV, you might wonder if the Obama camp got more of a boost from publicizing the rejection than the ads alone would have offered.

From my digital-out-of-home perspective, it’s hard to imagine a gas station owner (let alone an oil company) would consider running an ad that appears at odds with the very goods they’re selling. Somewhat different from cable TV or Internet-based entertainment, the only purpose of out of home video advertising networks is to benefit both the viewer and retailer. Retailers install these units to enhance the customer experience and directly stimulate sales. While we’re all feeling the pain at the pump, it’s not really a surprise the Obama ad did not go over well with Gas Station TV.

What do you think? Should Gas Station TV and other out-of-home networks be more open to political or controversial advertising?