Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ad Avoidance

Take a look at this one, from Get Rich Slowly. It's about advertising - its pervasiveness, and the avoidance thereof - which is one of the things I'm always going on about.

I saw a study somewhere that says that even people who think they are avoiding or not paying attention to or not affected by advertising, in fact are all of those things. Susan Linn said that children can name brand logos before they can read.

I've often looked through the Sunday New York Times, which I love, and seen all the ads for all the high end designers, high end real estate, etc. and thought - how much can this "liberal" paper call attention to class or income distribution issues if so much of its income depends on high end advertising?

And avoiding television helps, but marketers are smarter than that - that's why there's advertising in magazines, on billboards, and on every website you (and your kids) see - except this one!

And remember rule 1 - don't buy anything you see advertised on television!


Mary T said...

The thing is--without ad revenue--who will pay the cost? The government? Will we then have a free press anymore? Advertisers can pull 'an ad' if they get upset with a newspaper but they can't pull the plug outright like a Hugo Chavez could do.
I think-- what you want sounds like it could lead more toward Pravda than the NY Times. Are you sure that's a good thing?
Free Speech is not really 'Free' it must be supported by revenue. This week we lost a very important newspaper here in Charlotte that has now gone online only--it was the only paper here that really dug into facts in reporting on government spending and such like-- but there was not enough revenue to support a paper issue anymore. We do still have the Ch. Observor but it is like the government's cheerleader.

Mary T said...

The more I think about it--I have to say, there have been ads in newspapers in America since Benjamin Franklin. I think you walk dangerously close to communism when you try to eliminate them. A free press is essential in a free nation and needs to be profitable in order to exist.

rebmoti said...

Whoa - pull yourself together, Mary. I didn't say the Times shouldn't have advertising, I just asked how the kinds of advertising they carry would affect its coverage of certain issues.

As for television, it would be fine with me if all the commercials disappeared, and if commercial television disappeared for that matter. The programming is junk, the "news" is frivolous (no Ben Franklin arguments possible there, I think), and all in all it's just a delivery system for advertising for a lot of stuff that nobody needs and that hurts the planet. If that's communism, then call me Lenin.

rebmoti said...

Oh, and while I'm on the subject, it's the profit motive, not unprofitability, that's killing the news business. Wall Street wants larger profit margins than the news business can provide (6% isn't good enough, we want 10% - 10% isn't good enough, we want 20%), so investigative reporters get laid and overseas bureaus get closed, etc. It wouldn't at all surprise me if that's the story with your lamented Charlotte paper.

Mary T said...

Moti--I still think that ad revenues support a free flow of information better than anything else we have.

I can publish on blogger FREE. I wouldn't be able to use it free to speak my mind--as do you--and be on the search engine and all that--if someone didn't pay for it-- which would be ads.

Google isn't giving us space and frequently updated publishing tools because they are nice. They are making money.

Because there is some money to be made today on the internet, businesses are investing in ad space and it is causing a proliferation of publishing tools and sharing of information and a free speech explosion unlike anything in history. Its kind of amazing. Of course there is alot of junk to wade through--as on tv--and dare I say the NY Times? (conservative here)

Money and ads are behind the whole enchilada though.

Nothing is free, someone pays for every thing.

My thought on ads is I don't have to buy their products, the ads may be annoying--but they pay for the publishing/viewing/ etc.

They get their product before the public and I get to publish or read/view other people's publishing
The alternative would be to pay directly for whatever you want to read/view. Who could afford that? What would take the place of supporting speech? The government or individuals?

Individuals would cut that cost from their budget whenever things were tight. The government would figure out some way to control the information--and in reality--what they pay for--we are paying for in the form of taxes on just about everything.

also--The paper I was reffering to was free to readers and very popular. It wasn't stopped due to greed, they weren't making enough to keep going. Too bad they didn't have a better ad base--maybe they needed to get some better marketing folks? Benjamin Franklin might have figured it out somehow.
They are going to be online, just without all their reporters as they had to let most go.

If I were you I'd go ahead and put some ads on your site--your site is paid for by ads anyhow--why not take a few cents of that for your writing?

rebmoti said...

Well, I actually think that if the corporate "free" ways to do things were to disappear, something would develop to fill the vacuum, whether that be cooperative arrangements or wiki style grassroots approaches or small scale capitalism, which seems to have gone the way of the moderate Republican :-0. I think we see that already in the free and alternative platforms like Linux or Mozilla. The internet itself is an example of the opposite of what you claim - businesses didn't develop it, they're trying to find ways to profit from it - not altogether successfully, I might add. In other words, if Blogger wasn't so nice and convenient, something else would be.

Mary T said...

corruption/evil/greed/ etc--these are hard-wired into humanity.

Do you really think what you are thinking of would last incorrupt for very long?

rebmoti said...

Perhaps not. But this points up a deep philosophical difference between us, Mary: your belief in original sin and the impossibility of efforts to change the way things are, and my belief in, if not the perfectibility of the world, at least the improvability of the world. This is called in Hebrew "tikkun olam" - repair of the world. I must do what I can even if it is of limited use and effect. That's really the only reason I blog, or do anything else for that matter. As the rabbi said, "It is not up to you to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it." And that, my friend, is a much bigger topic, for another day.

Mary T said...

That would be an interesting conversation.

I wonder how small market economy would work with things like medicines?

I have a greater potential to live a longer life than my grandfather thanks to drugs that were not available when he died at 7 years older than me.

Also--what improvement to the world have small market economys brought? Say the small market economies in peasant china or in africa?

do you see what I am asking?

Mary T said...

I probably took that further than I needed to. I just really think-- there's room for a variety of businesses in the American economy--big and small. I cannot think of a way to 'limit' businesses so that they don't become large--without losing freedom in the process. Also I have to say--I really do believe that inspite of whatever bad big companies may have done--they have also brought about a great deal of good.

rebmoti said...

The pharmaceutical industry isn't a good example either. There could hardly be a "better" example of an industry that puts profits above its putative purpose. Why do you suppose medicines are so much more expensive here than in any other advanced country in the world? How many people can't afford the medicines they need to take? How many people are prescribed medicines that they don't really need, or that counteract with other medicines they already take, or that are undertested by our underfinanced FDA? This is a good example of an industry that society would be much better off having run by the government.

rebmoti said...

I want to make clear that I think small business is great - that's where innovation lies. Multinational corporations, once they get past a certain size, though, they become more interested in selling death or getting handouts from Washington than they are in whatever public purpose they once supposedly served. This doesn't mean that I think it should be regulated - it just means I don't want to play along - with my money or with my time. And that's where this conversation began.

Mary T said...

I agree that some companies are overly greedy. I'm not sure the answers to that--I will admit my inability to know the answer on that one.
I don't like the idea of government taking over an industry however because I have seen some of the things government does run now--and well there is a great waste of money and often the service level literally gets worse as the cost goes up. Also, I know that government agencies are not at all supporting of creative thinking and research.
When it comes to drug research--oh my no--definitely not the government.
In any case I suppose this conversation has gone pretty far from the start now, as you are reminding me it seems. It does appear that you and I do see things in keeping with our own beliefs/world view and so it is my friend. I wish it were possible for liberals and conservatives to agree to disagree and fight the fights --without the sort of ugliness that is out there these days. I guess maybe it takes folks realizing--we're all just folks.

Simcha Daniel Burstyn said...

Add this to the pot -

Scary is hardly the word. I used to think my 9 year old was ok - the only tv he watches is 1 hour in the afternoon on PBS. But no, he also watches, reads, and listens to SPORTS. And sports is about the worst advertising area - it is the ultimate vehicle for the Yetzer HaRa.