When the TV went to commercial break, I used to walk away, sometimes never to return to the programme. When radio programmes were interrupted by ad spots, I switched stations. When the free community newspaper(s) landed on my door, I’d throw it into the recycling box – editorial content was non•existent but the paper weighed a ton with flyers and advertorial. Telemarketers had the phone slammed down on them, and door•to•door sales people, whether they were selling cookies for charity or religion, got my front door slammed in their faces. I had the toughest anti•spam and anti•unknown e•mail address filters that were on the market, and my phone number was unlisted. And I never subscribed to receiving marketing content from online sites.
I was an anti•advertizing freak. Probably the only demonstration you could have got me to participate in willingly, ten years ago, was the “Death to Advertizing” march, if there was such a thing.
But now I am a reluctant convert. Think of it – I get a lot of things for free because of the advertizing that I don’t pay for or respond to. I get free e•mail, free online dictionary, free encyclopaedia, free search engines, free music (well, almost) and free books (coming soon, thanks to Google). I get to blog for free (well, almost), free overseas phone calls, free access to my friends and book lovers all over the world via online communities – all of this fuelled by the largesse of advertizing. Advertizing is finally providing some social good, while it continues to stimulate us to buy the things that we do not need.
So I will not be joining any more anti•advertizing protestors, but will look forward to the day when advertizing will pay my taxes, my employment insurance and my prescription drugs. Then I will be crossing the line to join the pro•ad parades!