This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

January 14, 2019

Why some people see a lot of ads, and some see very few

As an old Marketing guy and graphic designer, I see a LOT of ads. My eye is tuned for them, it's been my business all of my adult life. And sometimes I'm absolutely overwhelmed by the ads I see everywhere, including on social media.

I'm definitely a poor choice to ask about whether there are too many ads. To me, yes of course, they're everywhere. When I'm out for a walk I see ads on billboards, in storefronts, when I check Facebook. I understand that advertising is a billion-dollar business, which is why I had such a nice career for so many years doing graphic design.

Advertising drives the economy. Although it would be nice if people could just somehow know, without being told, what products and services are available where and when. You know, like the way that people often talk in commercials: "Say, Bob, did you know that XYZ Car Dealership is having its greatest sale of the year! Yes, and it ends on the 14th!" I actually hear a lot of that on the radio, and really it's not how ordinary people talk. Since they don't, there are ads.

Every once in a while people ask why Pepsi and Coke advertise. It seems as if everyone has heard of Pepsi and Coke. And yet they have gigantic advertising budgets, mostly just showing us their product. There was a time, in the 1980s, when they did competitive stuff, but really it's not a good idea to mention your competitor in an ad, because you're just giving your competitor free exposure. And that's what it's all about: Exposure.

Advertising exposes people to a product or service. If people know about it, talk about it, then the exposure is good. If they've never heard of it, that's bad. I'm reminded of the line from "Pirates of the Caribbean", where the pirate is proud that the soldier had heard of him, even in a negative way. He says, "But you HAVE heard of me!" Now that's exposure!

So I pay close attention to people who aren't in the Marketing business to see if they're seeing ads. Some people just rant with disgust about how many ads they're seeing, and other people say, "Huh? What ads?" I find that the people who do a mental filter the best (like people who've had young children) don't mind ads because they really don't see them. For someone like me, who sees all of the ads, all of the time, and has no filtering system, I wonder how people can stand it.

So there you go. Advertising, and promotion, didn't start with Facebook, it started with the first time a person stood somewhere and shouted that he had a product to sell, like on a street corner. For some people the noise is just awful, and for some people the noise can't really be heard at all.

I hope this helps.

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