February 22, 2012
All of advertising can be divided up into two categories – relevant information, and spam. Most of what I see on TV is spam. It’s funny sometimes, but it’s still spam. Kind of creepy that they know everything about me, but it’s the price we pay for relevancy.
Most of the ads I see on the internet are targeted to me, specifically. Based on Google’s knowledge of my browsing history, they target ads to me that they know have a high likelihood of being relevant.
Relevant information is good. Spam is bad.
When I turn on the TV, it’s because I need to watch the Portland Trail Blazers. Sometimes when I’m watching this TV, I get spammed. Toyota ads. Lexus ads. Cadillac ads. Ford, Chevy, the names go on. These ads are a waste of time for me, because I bike everywhere. So it’s all spam.
I grew up watching ads. I look back on childhood, and I see working hours that could’ve been devoted to fascinating things. Science projects. Learning about the actual world around me. That kind of thing. Instead, I was fed a huge amount of consumer related information.
Imagine the benefit that would be bestowed upon our world if instead of spending “X” amount of working hours paying attention to spam, we humans worked toward relevant goals.
I like Google AdSense, because rather than spam, it gives targeted, relevant information. In the end, AdSense is about putting up a few relevant, paid links, so instead of pawning my laptop to pay the bills, I can keep publishing.
Sure, there are funny ads. But if it’s funny spam, it’s still spam. The only reason you’re watching that spam is because they think it’ll make you buy what they’re selling. If you really wanted to watch funny 30-second skits, go watch some skits. You put hardworking comedians out of a job when you go to these “Superbowl” ads for your comedy-related needs. I’m not saying I don’t laugh when I see superbowl ads. I have red blood. Super bowl ads are funny. But I’m saying that I’d laugh harder, per the same amount of time, if I was watching a decent stand up comedian – plus I wouldn’t get spammed.
Attention is the world’s most valuable resource, and when that attention is donated to spam, even entertaining spam, then that attention is lost forever, and it can’t be spent on things that are actually worthwhile.
There are real artists out there, truly talented, brilliant geniuses, and they don’t get the attention they deserve.
Yes, I’m aware that artists are sometimes paid money to create advertising. No, that does not make it artistic to watch ads.
This is what I’m talking about when I repeat the mantra, “Art, not ads,” which doubles as the title in what I still consider to be a definitive piece on the matter that I wrote some months ago.
Attention is the world’s most valuable resource. Let’s spend it on relevant information, not spam.