Why Advertising?

Advertising allows many content creators to offer their content and news to you, the consumer, without having to directly charge you for it. Many consumers prefer this as a way to pay for their content. According to a 2013 survey by the Digital Advertising Alliance (a self-regulatory group funded by advertising industry participants), 75.4% of consumers said they would rather get free ad-supported content.

“Successful advertising rarely succeeds through argument or calls to action. Instead, it creates positive memories and feelings that influence our behavior over time to encourage us to buy something at a later date. No one likes to think that they are easily influenced. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that we respond negatively to naked attempts at persuasion.  Instead, the best advertisements are ingenious at leaving impressions.”

Why Good Advertising Works (Even When You Think It Doesn’t) by Nigel Hollis (The Atlantic, 8/11/2011)

Others have written that advertising can be entertaining and improve the quality of your life, but it is primarily today a way of funding access to information. Commentator and CUNY Professor Jeff Jarvis writes:

Some have all but given up on advertising. I have not — not only because we cannot afford to lose its support and see journalism and other media shrink or retreat behind paywalls. I have not given up because I believe reform is possible and I even see a business opportunity in it, with decent advertising rising above the marketplace of drek. We can indeed create a new scarcity in advertising by accepting and thus anointing only the best — and having the courage at last to reject and fire the worst.

Advertising is not inherently bad, and people seem to like getting content without directly paying for it; but clearly there are several systemic issues that need to be addressed. With our fellow ChangeAdvertising collaborators, we hope to help facilitate some of those conversations here and elsewhere in the public sphere.