How to avoid advertising

The typical sources of advertising come in the form of TV commercials, radio commercials, billboards and online ads.

Paul Bausch wrote a review of The Consumer Trap and in his review, he described how big business marketing plays a central role in our lives, shaping our choices, thoughts, feelings, and even our culture.

JD at get rich slowly wrote, in reference to super bowl ads, “Advertising is not meant to help you make informed decisions. It’s meant to persuade you to purchase things. It’s shocking that so many people willingly expose themselves to ads, not just during the Super Bowl, but in other areas of their life too. Perhaps they believe advertising doesn’t affect them. They’re wrong. Advertising works. It doesn’t always affect us on a conscious level — it operates in our subconscious where we’re unaware of its effects.”

After hearing about the many ways advertising can sneak into your life and affect your decisions, I wondered how much it might be affecting me. I reviewed a normal day and was surprised to find that I have removed almost all of the main sources of advertising from my life. How?

1. TV – I don’t watch TV, so I don’t see any commercials. Instead, I watch DVDs where I occasionally see a movie trailer, but that’s about it.
2. Radio – I don’t listen to the radio, so I don’t hear any commercials. Instead, I listen to audio books when I’m in the car.
3. Billboards – There aren’t any on my commute, so I rarely see any.
4. Online ads – I use the Adblock Firefox extension which does a great job of filtering out ads. Some ads still get through, but it cuts out the lion’s share.

There are some types of advertising that I still see, like those at a store or restaurant, and advertisements in the mail from local businesses. I also see Google’s sponsored links when using Google services, and when I’m visiting a commercial web site, they are obviously advertising their own products. So, while I’m not able to completely avoid advertising, I’ve significantly reduced it without any negative side affects (at least that I’m aware of).

I’ve never made a conscious decision to do this, I’ve just tried to find ways to be more productive during the day. Now that I’ve learned about the subconscious affects of advertising, it’s icing on the cake.