More Than Meets the Eye – How We Benefit From Advertising

I was listening to the radio on my way to work the other day and the morning show folks were discussing a survey on consumers and advertising. Basically, the results showed that the majority of people find advertisements to be annoying (shocker right?) and they would prefer not to have any. However, when asked if they would prefer to pay for access to certain online sites in lieu of seeing advertisements, the majority shifted and gave some love to advertisements. Its no surprise that people would rather take a few seconds to look at pop-ups, intro ads and full commercials as long as they don’t have to pay to check out the site and view all its content.

So this survey got me thinking – do people really stop and think why advertising exists? Companies and agencies work hard and go to great lengths to be sure they’re giving you something
informative and interesting. They create ads to capture attention, raise awareness, and sell the audience, while often being fun and entertaining as well. And they succeed – just think of how many people watch the Superbowl only for the commercials. But beyond that, ads enhance our entertainment experiences in other ways.

Take trade publications for example. I enjoy every day when a new stack of publications comes to the office. Fortunately, because of my ties to various industries, I receive several of these magazines for free. I’m able to read interesting articles, browse the latest industry news and see what other companies are up to, at no charge. How are the publishers able to offer the magazine for free? Answer: Advertisers.

In the cases of newspapers or magazines that don’t offer free subscriptions, many offer free online versions. Network and cable stations are also embracing this trend and have begun posting full episodes of their shows online – free to watch anytime, anywhere. How are they able to fund this? Answer again: Advertisers.

This extends even further. Think sporting events like baseball and football games. Both ads and sponsorships are everywhere, circling the stadium. Even the field itself is up for grabs – from Target Field in Minneapolis to Petco Park in San Diego. These ads and sponsorships help cover operating costs of these organizations and keep ticket prices reasonable. On a similar note, think back to the last time you went to the movie theater – if you got there before the previews, you’d notice there were ads rotating on the screen. Rather than spiking the prices of everything from popcorn to Raisinettes in an attempt to handle inflation, guess what helps to keep costs under control? Answer for the third time: Advertisers.

Ads really do more than draw us in and do their best to influence our decisions – they play a huge role in feeding so many things we all enjoy.

What do you think?  Is being subjected to advertisements everywhere we look a small price to pay? What are some companies you feel get it right, offering a little fun and entertainment with their ads?