Why People Hate Advertising

Wesley Fryer’s education blog The Speed of Creativity discusses why people hate advertising.

I really don’t like to use the word “hate” at all, so I hesitate to say “I hate advertising.” It is definitely accurate to say I STRONGLY dislike advertising. I’m convinced we all should strive to live our lives with digital discipline, and part of disciplining ourselves digitally means taking assertive control of the images and messages we allow into our eyes, ears, and brains.

I came to the defense of advertising in the following comment:

I think advertising can be used for evil, but I think there are a lot of positive externalities of advertising in society. For instance it generates consumer demand, which fuels the economy, which generates revenue for the government, which helps fund schools.

I believe you are a fan of the Apple iPod touch as a tool for education. Well if Apple did not run advertising to promote the iPod, their sales would be much lower, and developers would have a much lower incentive to develop useful education applications.

I think there are millions who feel the same way as Wesley, which is why people love to eliminate ads. I think the root cause is the lack of relevancy. Most ads are not personally relevant to us or offer any value to our lives.

The genius of Google is that it shows ads that are relevant to the content we view. In Free, Chris Anderson explains that a survey he conducted showed more people preferred relevant ads than having the ads removed. How can advertisers increase relevance for customers? Maybe, instead of showing random ads at commercial breaks on Hulu, they can let viewers choose what type of ad they want to see or perhaps they could set their preferences for categories of ads that are relevant to them. Alternatively, advertising could offer value such as discount code or a link to a site with how to videos. Ads can also create value by creating entertainment value. These types of ads are often actively searched for and even shared.

What else can advertisers do to be less hated?