Sure Scott, all true. I had reasoned all that out myself.
My objection to advertising is more fundamental than that. It comes down to the fact that I have learned in life and business not to trust anyone who lies or exaggerates to me, especially on financial matters. When that happens I lose interest and refuse to deal with them. They have no honour.
Leaving aside the privacy vioolations, well targeted advertising may well be more efficient and less intrusive in terms of getting in the way of what you are trying to do, but it will be just as dishonest. I don’t agree with you that advertisments have information that you want. The advertisers probably do have it, but they won’t tell you because they are too conflicted. We need to know if and how their product is any better than its competitors. The professional advertising industry has developed an array of clever psychological tricks to con people into buying stuff that they don’t need. Mostly it is about brand swapping without making any real contribution to the economy or benefits to consumers. In fact it forces the price up on everything and makes us much worse off.
I don’t understand why there is so much tolerance for it. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the target audience has not developed powers of critical thinking. Perhaps most Americans were like that in the 1920s when advertising started on radio and developed its present characteristics. The integrity aspects did not change much on through the arrival of television in the 1950s and on through to the 1980s, except that advertising became the most successful business model for vast and highly profitable networks.
However, now, with the variety of media resources of the digital age, ordinary people are more discriminating and the old assumptions about aiming ads at people of low intelligence and poor education should not be valid.
I realise that mine is not a popular view in free enterprise, competitive USA, but I hope you are right in that things will have to change when the old model fails. It would be nice to hope that at the same time advertisers might come to realise that their work could be more effective if they learned to respect their audience a lot more. Fat chance! No one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the masses.
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