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?

6 thoughts on “Why People Hate Advertising”

  1. Great post, and although I agree – advertising is a regular discussion topic between me and my partner! Unfortunately we seem to swear about TV adverts more than a lot of things, because there seems to be much more time dedicated to adverts now, and you barely get to watch the introduction to a programme before we’re back on to the ads!

    More often than not, we will forget what we were watching and start something else (if you’re lucky enough to find another programme on in this dedicated advert time!) They’re getting more irritating too – we know getting remembered is the game, but do they have to be that annoying?!

    Because we’re actually forced to absorb advert information, tv is the best form of awareness for the big boys with a wide spread, highly unidentified audience. So if advertisers don’t want to be hated so much, they should try feeding us more varied, less annoying adverts, in moderation, so we watch them for a smaller % of our lives and don’t watch the same ones all the time! We’ll live in hope!

    On the rare occassion there’s a great advert we love – and for that we are grateful! But as for the rest of them… it comes down to how a business uses their advert and what the desired response is.

    Thanks again for writing the article and sorry about my rant!


  2. I hate advertising so much, that I just canceled paid TV, watch only PBS and rented DVD’s.
    Reason is, ads as close as every 5 minutes, repeating the same thing over and over during one show, pushing other shows and when my show finally comes back, they insert their banners that take about 1/4 of the screen pushing ever more. All that is disturbing what I want to watch so, good bye Hollywood. If this is some kind of psychological war or brainwashing, it doesn’t work on me. The more they push some product or show, the more they turn me off. I never buy what is being advertised!
    If they think people are such a idiots, maybe they should look in the mirror.
    Advertising should be on exclusive channels so people can research what they are looking for. For example I don’t need to see sale of mattraces every day! Or all the sex pills!!!
    Again, good bye TV.

    • Thanks Fred. Do you have any tips for getting the word out about your business? I know your magic joke shop was a huge success.

  3. Sorry, ads cause symptoms similar to mental illnesses in people. I run adblock on all pc’s, adaway on android phones, and only watch tv shows that have the ads removed. After years of doing this i feel great. Everytime an ad comes through i can feel the agitationo grow.

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