What are the reasons, advertisements are bad?

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They aren’t, not all of them. The word bad can be taken in a few different ways in this context. A bad ad could mean that it is annoying, harmful to the public, or it could fail to get the desired results the business wanted. I’ll assume you mean the middle option primarily, harmful to the public.

Let’s get into that.

audiences, and an ad could target an inappropriate audience. For instance, most countries have laws against advertising to children. Most commercials for products that are for kids are really aimed at the adults in charge of those kids, who would be expected to make the decision to buy the product. This is why you often hear the phrase “ask your parent’s permission before going online.” That line skirts the law and helps avoid the claim that the marketers are going over the heads of the parents to advertise directly to children. This makes sense to a degree, since children are impressionable and lack life experience, so they are more vulnerable to advertising lingo and imagery.

In other cases, people might argue that certain ads are bad for society. This is often retroactive and used to criticize old commercials that catered to politically incorrect attitudes or debunked misconceptions. For instance, there were old tire commercials in the 1970s that preyed on a man’s fear of his wife’s poor driving skills, because women are terrible drivers, or so the commercial implies. Stuff like this being actually harmful is debatable. I think it’s more a reflection of the times they were made in, good or ill, and as long as we’re able to look back on them more objectively today, then it’s fine.

There also exist ads that are misleading and false, which is a much easier argument to make. I’m sure you can think of some examples. In my opinion, there is no excuse for false or misleading advertising. It’s unethical.

It’s not fair to call all advertisements bad. You might as well call all media bad, because without advertising, most of the books, movies, etc. people love the most, they would never have discovered.

There are many good advertisements too. I recently saw a clothing brand’s ad in which there was a child feeding biscuits to stray dogs. I thought it sent a good message without being manipulative. To some people, that ad may be irrelevant to them, annoying, or even morally bad. Many ads others like, I hate due to finding them manipulative. In short, everything depends on your point of view.

The main three reasons I can come up with for why someone might be truly fed up and opposed to advertising are:

1) The ad feels random, confusing, or irrelevant to the viewer. I don’t really find this to be much of a problem. It’s usually due to the bias of someone who is not the target audience. Great ads these days are so well targeted to their audience that anyone who is not part of that audience often doesn’t even understand what the ad is really about. In a way, that’s amazing. It shows we’re getting better and better at sending targeted messages instead of general broadcasts, such as TV commercials. Compare the average set of TV commercials to the ads you get while watching videos online, and I’m sure you’ve noticed a difference in specificity.

2) The content of the advertisement is not acceptable to a group or society. Like, an advertisement promoting prohibited activities. Things like this usually never make it to air, because the advertising platforms do not want a scandal.

3) An advertisement is visually unpleasant, contains unpleasant or annoying effects or sounds, the volume is too high, etc. Anything unpleasant to the senses.

In my opinion, none of these things are really problems, because advertising is a competitive market. Whatever fails to satisfy customers will stop being shown, because it isn’t bringing in a return. Advertisers are strongly financially motivated to show you ads that you will like and find relevant. If they don’t, they lose money.

In the olden days, there used to be less or almost no competition among products. With growing competition, advertisements have an important role in the success of a business. Increased competition means that ads need to be more effective, more satisfying and interesting, more authentic, etc. Marketing with a vague ad to a general audience en-masse is probably not going to work for much longer. The last time I remember it happening was Tai Lopez’s YouTube commercials, five years ago.

Imagine if there were no advertisements at all. I can guarantee, the world would not be better off in that scenario. I’ve created a little article, Welcome to Welcome to a World Without Advertising, telling a hypothetical story.

To sum up, I would say there is no empirical yardstick for an advertisement to be good or bad. Some ads are bad, maybe even most if you’re very critical, but the concept of advertising itself being bad is like saying commerce is bad, or money is bad. Still, an advertiser should work upon the discussed points as much as possible to create great ads that grow their business without causing harm.

Please feel free to reply to me if you need clarification.



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