I am an “older” Millennial, born in 1983. My husband, a Gen X-er, doesn’t have nearly the problem with advertising that I do. So maybe the seething rage I feel whenever I am forced to endure an ad is a generational thing. Or maybe it’s just a personality thing. Either way, I do everything in my power to avoid ads. I never watch TV or listen to the radio (I do watch things on Netflix and Amazon Prime, where there are no ads). I have AdBlock installed on my laptop, and that pretty much takes care of everything there, except on Facebook, since Facebook has recently chosen to block AdBlock, so I have now also installed FB Purity. I no longer use my phone for much of anything except texting and watching Netflix, since it is practically impossible to block ads on my phone. If I could, I would.
The main reason I hate ads is that if I want to buy something, I know where to look and how to research and evaluate all options BY MYSELF. I resent advertisers who try to pressure or manipulate me, or who insult my intelligence by insinuating that I need to be told what to buy because I’m too dumb to figure it out myself. All a company needs to do is have an updated web site with detailed product information, photos, and videos of their product. If I need something, I’ll use my Google-Fu to find relevant product web sites, as well as unbiased, useful, thorough product reviews on places like Amazon and YouTube. Then I will use my critical thinking skills to figure out which product will best suit my needs and budget.
The second problem I have with ads is that I am already on “information overload.” In today’s society, I am constantly bombarded with information and “noise” from all sides. I just want peace and calm, and I need to be free to use my brain power to focus on things that are important to me. Advertisements make me angry because they take up my time, tax my mental resources, and increase my levels of anxiety and discontent.
Third, advertisements make me feel personally violated. They are unavoidably thrust upon me, despite my protests, and at times, I am silenced and allowed no recourse (e.g., Facebook recently removed the ability to report individual ads as spam). By the way, I would gladly pay a small monthly fee for an ad-free Facebook experience, but Facebook does not provide that option.
Lastly, it feels dirty and creepy when an advertisement tells me, either blatantly or implicitly, that I need a certain product to be happy/beautiful/popular. This is untrue, and it’s just rude.
Bottom line: Ads are more than just an annoyance. They are intrusive, they are manipulative, and they are unnecessary. I can do research on my own, and I don’t want or need someone telling me what to buy.