Wednesday, July 20, 2016

STOP! - The Effect of Ads on Our Desires & Our Debt

Ads.  A small word with an incredible power over our psyche.  We may not realize it, but, as of 2006, the average American was being exposed to as many as 5,000 ads per day.  Yep.  Per.... DAY.  Click here to read that CBS News article.  Now, keep in mind, that was as of 2006.  It is now 2016.  Our exposure to ads has grown leaps and bounds since.  With things like YouTube, Facebook ads, Instagram sponsored posts, Pinterest sponsored pins, and on and on... I'd dare say, the number has probably significantly gone up.  It's no wonder people are in debt up to their eyeballs and still not satisfied.  We buy the latest iPhone, only to be reminded a year later that we now hold the old model.  We turn our television sets on during the holidays just in time to be slapped in the face with that annoying Lexus commercial where the wife/mother gets a brand new Lexus SUV with a giant red bow on it from her husband.  Now, not only do we have car envy, but husband envy as well! Haha! On top of the advertisers, we also have celebrities pushing products on us and lifestyles we cannot actually afford.  How do we STOP the madness???

To be honest?  We can't stop all of it.  I mean, we can't avoid billboards and the occasional TV ad.  But, we can minimize our exposure to ads by limiting the activities we partake in that are riddled with them.  For instance, TV is probably where most folks get the bulk of it.  By limiting tube time, we are preventing most of the ads coming our way.  Another way to limit them is through the use of a DVR.  I only ever watch one TV show.  My guilty pleasure is The Bachelorette/Bachelor.  It really is such a ridiculous show, but that's for another post.  The truth is, I like to sit there and watch it and get a good giggle out of the whole ridiculous thing.  But, I don't want to watch all the ads that come with it.  So, I typically record the show using our DVR and then watch it the next day while fast forwarding through all the commercials.  Otherwise, I watch YouTube, Netflix or Hulu.  All of which have very limited ads, if any at all.  Another way to avoid ads? Unsubscribe to magazines.  With Pinterest and the Internet, who needs magazines anymore?  I remember the good ole' days when flipping through a magazine was something I looked forward to.  But, nowadays they seem to have way more ads in them than they do any valuable content.  It's terrible.  I didn't pay $6 for a magazine filled with Dolce & Gabbana ads, thank you very much. My last tip? Unfollow any retailers on your social media.  I used to follow Nike, Nordstrom, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, etc... But then would get all bummed when I'd see the beautiful xyz's that I couldn't actually afford.  So, why do that to ourselves? Unfollow! Boom! Problem solved. 

Remember that advertising agencies thrive on making us feel "less than."  We are less than because we don't have the newest and coolest couch.  But, we can restore our coolness for just $2,500.  We used to be awesome with our iPhone 5, but are now subpar because, hellloooooo.... the iPhone 6!! Duh!  It's okay, for $800 or another dreaded cell phone company contract, you can upgrade! Yippee!  We had a perfectly good wardrobe until we saw our favorite fashion blogger sporting the latest Tory Burch flats in the new summer colors!! AH! MUST HAVE THOSE!  No worries... for a quick $225, you can have those too! Don't have the money?? No biggie... credit card companies will be happy to oblige for a mere 20% A.P.R., of course.  Next thing we know... the dreaded D word has reared its ugly head... DEBT.  Now, we owe a bunch of money for stuff that's wore off and been replaced by the newest model.  It's a vicious cycle from which we can be freed.  All it takes is prevention.  Avoid the ads whenever possible.  And yes... that includes going out to browse the stores just because.  Stores are filled with ads as well.  50% off! BOGO! Or, of course, the giant pictures of 90 pound models frolicking through the sandy beaches in the latest beaded beach coverup.  You too can be as happy as this 16 year old model from Europe if you buy this $125 coverup! Forget that you're actually 46 and could easily be that model's mother...

Don't be fooled.  Be smart.  Be proactive in preventing the exposure.  And when you are exposed to the ads, which you will be... think.  Think about the reason behind the ads.  Is it to really make you happier?? Or is it in that company's interest of making a profit?  Think.