Advertising is a Battlefield

I’ll admit, advertising has never been a strong interest of mine, and I am usually nothing but annoyed by commercials on TV and radio, and ads on the Internet. That being said, I did find it interesting to study advertising this week and get a better grasp of the industry and where it’s headed. Whether I like advertising or not, thanks to media convergence, it is an integral part of the media landscape and will play a role in whatever form of journalism I practice in the future.

For our exercise on finding innovative advertising, I was intrigued to find ads that open up a shopping cart and allow a user to purchase a product without ever leaving the original web page they were visiting, and interactive ads that let users play a part in the ad and give incentives for watching the entire thing. These advertising people are really bringing that “A” game for innovation. But why must they bring that “A” game? Because people like me don’t care about their ads and mostly ignore them.

I found an interesting article this week: http://adage.com/article/print-edition/a-war-advertising/300336/ that talked about the “war on advertising” and the rise of ad blockers that allow online users to block or skip ads. What was really interesting was the industry’s response to this hostility toward advertising. It was solidly “Meh.” Some companies are experimenting with content that is only available to users without ad blocker software, but others are worried about angering consumers and don’t want to move too aggressively. I, for one, think this trend should be rather alarming to the advertising and media industries. It seems to be an accepted truth that, given the choice, consumers will always skip ads, so if ad blockers are running free, we may reach a point where no one watches any ads ever. In that case, where will the revenue come from? The online model already struggles to bring in as much ad revenue as print models. So all this advertising innovation is great, but I fear it will become irrelevant if everyone is blocking the ads.

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