General Question

fremen_warrior's avatar

Do you ever get ticked off by advertising?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5505points) July 7th, 2012

Do you ever look at an ad and ask yourself why, why you, the potential customer, are treated like a blubbering imbecile with a two digit IQ? Advertising plays on our basest instincts, lies to us, manipulates and distorts our perceptions of reality – is there any way to end this insanity? “Buy one, get one FREE”, “For only 29,99”, “40% OFF”, “Celebrity X gets drunk on our overpriced whiskey daily, and so should YOU” etc.

Any ideas on how we can make advertising (in its current form or in its entirety) extinct? Do you think banning advertising would work? Any other ideas on how to stop advertising dead in its tracks? (watch this btw. it’s amazing how getting rid of outdoor ads can make a city look cleaner, easier on the eyes)

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26 Answers

lifeflame's avatar

If I was uber rich one of the things I would do is buy up all the billboards and TV slots and give every one a visual, auditory and mental rest.
And San Paulo’s managed to do it!! I don’t know how much of Hong Kong would feel like HK without the ads… but really, TVs on trains and buses spewing adverts is too much…

BosM's avatar

What the Mayor of Sao Paolo did was optimal, but that would by difficult in the US given out “free market economy” and the consumer culture that we thrive on.

If it’s billboard advertising citizens can initiate a grassroots effort and petition State legislators to regulate tighter controls as well as pressure corporations through consumer driven initiatives protesting troublesome advertising. I believe consumers are truly the ones with the power to change this through their behavior and activism efforts.

Until that happens, US consumers currently must be able to press the “ignore” button when it comes to advertising they dislike. If it’s radio or television advertising you can change the channel to avoid the trivial dribble, or incessently repetitive advertisements that plague the airwaves.

One final note: In the US there is legislation, for example “in 1965 the US the Federal government enacted the Highway Beautification Act which controls outdoor advertising along Primary, Interstate and National Highway System (NHS) roads which allows the location of billboards in commercial and industrial areas, mandates a state compliance program, requires the development of state standards, promotes the expeditious removal of illegal signs, and requires just compensation for takings.”

laureth's avatar

Are you familiar with Adbusters?

ETpro's avatar

I get ticked off enough by inane advertising to routinely embarrass myself by talking back to the TV.

tom_g's avatar

@laureth – I always thought their corporate flag seemed appropriate. And while I am not one for “do something for one day to pretend you care” events (like Earth Day), their Buy Nothing Day is effective for anyone who attempts to convince their friends and family to actually not buy anything for one day. It really shows how addicted people are to consuming. Trying to “sell” this idea is like trying to convince people that they should eat nothing but fire ants for 24 hours. Good stuff.

bolwerk's avatar

I don’t really mind outdoor ads that much, as long as they aren’t noisy.

Broadcast ads are disruptive, however, to whatever purpose you are listening to the broadcast for. But then, I haven’t had a TV in close to a decade and couldn’t be the happier for it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I get mad at 2 types of ads.
1) Car ads that flash a page of disclaimers on the screen in a font and for a duration that is impossible to read. The price they advertise is meaningless.
2) Drug ads that list every side effect known to man while the paid actor who supposedly is taking this medication walks around with a perpetual smile on her face. It is clearly there just to cover themselves when (not if) the law firm of Shyster and Shyster starts the inevitable court case – with no fee unless you win.

gailcalled's avatar

I ignore all ads. They have no influence on my purchasing habits. I become more frugal every year, as it happens.

bolwerk's avatar

The only way ads cannot influence your purchasing habits is if you’re a hermit. Even if you react to them by not making a purchase!

fremen_warrior's avatar

@lifeflame I know what you mean, Poland’s one of the most billboard-ridden countries in the world. What a brainf*ck that is… just walking down the street for a while you get assaulted by these from all sides – walls, busses, trams, afraid to open the fridge lately lol.

@BosM I think if enough people start making a fuss about it legislators will have to adjust, it’s all about determination and a lot of free time I guess.

@laureth not really familiar with these guys, what do they do exactly?

@ETpro I think we’ve all been guilty of that at some point of our lives (the men at least :D)

I’m with Bill Hicks on advertising and people who work there ;) I think it’s one of the worst things to hit civilization since organized crime. IMHO our cities, and our lives in general would benefit from the uprooting of this malicious parasite. I still have no idea how to go about changing that, but someone’s got to do this – maybe I should run for mayor, or president?

ETpro's avatar

@fremen_warrior I know for a fact it’s not just us men. While my wife often savages me for talking to the TV, it’s OK apparently when she does it. :-)

BTW, I asked about bad ad spokesmen here, and there were a long list that irritated our fellow Jellies.

flo's avatar

Advertising as a whole, the way it is now is criminal. It is fraud, and a lot of it sexist. The ones on the radio and TV are just disguisting.

There is one ad that encourages the public to go out and get indebted all they want, since they are there for us to help us only pay 30% of it.

Sunny2's avatar

They are extremely irritating and ugly for the most part, but they do fit in with the US business system. They benefit somebody and would be very difficult to get rid of, but I’d love to see them go away.

Bellatrix's avatar

Absolutely I do. We have the Advertising Standards Bureau here but since it is a self-regulation mechanism managed by the advertising industry it is largely ineffective. I have complained about ads I think cross the line (not that I really believe much will happen). I actually find many ads demeaning towards men. They are based on the premise that men are morons. That is as offensive to me as ads that demean women.

This ad comes from the same company (Unilever) who brought us the real beauty campaign from Dove. Obviously they are very concerned about real media representations of women (and men).

woodcutter's avatar

Not ticked off, more like disappointed because most of the good atributes of whatever it is being peddled are lies.

ETpro's avatar

@Bellatrix Thanks for standing up for men. It does irritate me that it’s not PC todemean women any more but men, oh that’s just fine. I’m looking forward to the day when it’s simply not OK to demean human beings.

As to Unilever’s advertising for LYNX, can you believe this?

stardust's avatar

I don’t get ticked off. I do find it ridiculous that advertisers choose not to reach their target audience in a more intelligent, non-corrupt manner. It’s not something that gets under my skin as advertising doesn’t really have much of an impact on how I choose my goods.

Silence04's avatar

You do realize about 50% of the population has a 2 digit IQ, right?

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Silence04 I was making a point, didn’t mean to offend anybody, sheesh.

Besides, most people think they are above average, so no harm done (I hope).

flo's avatar
Would @bolwerk or anyone else elaborate on “the following part of @bolwerk‘s Permalink :”...Even if you react to them by not making a purchase!“_

flo's avatar

@ETpro It is true when people say something “is sexist” I automaticlly picture women in my head as the victims of the sexism. I hardly think of men.

bolwerk's avatar

@flo: it’s not unheard of for advertisers to try to not appeal to a given segment. The main reason is to look good with another subgroup. Think of those old Mac v. PC commercials (hell, maybe they’re still around, but they had Justin Long and John Hodgemen in them), where a douchebag and a stodgy business douche are subgrouped into Mac and PC categories respectively. The young, cool (among douches, anyway) Long character appeals to one group that prides itself on its supposedly edginess, and the stodgy business crowd is mocked. Apple must know that the stodgy business crowd is a huge purchaser of microcomputers, so they aren’t brushing off that subgroup lightly, but they are playing it off another group to accentuate a core business strength.

Silence04's avatar

@fremen_warrior no, my point for saying that is because that type of advertising you mentioned is targeted towards the masses. The mass is not people above 110 iq. However if you are reading wsj or Times mag the advertising will be much more attuned to that population. If you feel like all advertising you see is for people of lesser intelligence, maybe you should consider why you are begging targeted in that demographic in the first place.

Companies have the right to promote their products/services via advertising. There are legal systems and laws in place for improper advertising. If all advertising really bothers you, you have the choice to live above it.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Silence04 the chances of me “living above it” are the same as me going to the moon in the near future – pretty slim if you ask me. True, the examples I mentioned above are really shall we say, common, but don’t tell me that higher-end advertising isn’t deception.

Open up the Foreign Affairs journal or The Economist and you will find pages upon pages promoting shinier trinkets, trying to make you feel like you need them. Try as one might one cannot be impartial to advertising. Whether you hate it or not, you will remember the brand… It is not just the phrasing or graphic layout of certain ads that gets on my nerves, it’s the whole damned idea of people blatantly lying to my face, creating false impressions and forcing me to have additional desires for products and services I could really do well without. It’s messing with people’s heads and I think it’s criminal.

Laws regulating advertising are set upon morality framed by suits claiming to know what is best for everybody (well that much can be said of the entire legal system, but my point still stands). It is my opinion that advertising is immoral, given how it distorts people’s perceptions of reality, and promotes a rat race fuelling our voracious appetites, eventually leading to environmental degradation and (paradoxically) overall decrease in personal happiness – leading to more consumption as a psychological crutch.

I believe advertising is a cultural parasite that needs to be killed if humanity is to rise above its history.

flo's avatar

@fremen_warrior Your last post should be publicized it is so well put.
@bolwerk I thought you were referring to ”Whether you hate it or not, you will remember the brand… ” as @fremen_warrior put it.

@Silence04that type of advertising you mentioned is targeted towards the masses.” I don’t think it is only targetted to the masses, but even it were, does it mean it’s acceptable to decieve the masses?

fremen_warrior's avatar

@flo glad I was able to add some value to the discussion then :-)

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