Advertisements aren't inherently bad, but many use manipulative tactics that influence in ways we don't even realize. Despite how much you think you ignore them, and how little you may believe they affect you, that's not necessarily the case. Here's a look at how manipulative ads work, the problems they cause, and what you can do to avoid these negative consequences.
You see ads every day, whether it's on a web page, before a movie, or in the middle of a TV show, and it's easy to say "they're just ads" because, at worst, they feel like a nuisance or interruption. A lot of people have difficulty accepting the idea that ads are manipulative because we want to believe we're in
complete control of our choices. While the concept of advertising isn't inherently problematic, we've moved on from the "Eat at Joe's" sign to far more complex and sometimes even moving, cinematic messages that are designed to create significant memories of a product. These memories are created because an ad succeeds at making us feel something—whether it's good or bad—and that emotional response can have a profound effect on how we think and the choices we make. Not all advertising is bad, but we're going to take a look at what's problematic, what isn't, and ways you can avoid the negative effects associated with so much of what you passively experience.
The Problem: Advertising Is for the Rich, Not You