Aug 142011

With the use of free Adblock plugins in internet browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome it has become easy to reduce advertising – at least on the Internet.

Marketing, advertising, public relation are modern equivalents for what used to be called propaganda. Advertising is certainly not new and to some extent unavoidable. In recent decades, with the rise of TV and later the Internet aggressive marketing is at an all-time high. It may even threaten the functioning of democratic and economic systems on a global scale. A law to gradually eliminate political and commercial advertising  may be able to:

  • reduce consumer spending
  • reduce production of things we don’t need
  • reduce energy and resource consumption needed to create and maintain not needed products
  • reduce waste and pollution
  • encourage an economic system that is not based on increasing consumption
  • improve our health and happiness (we are not told anymore that we have diseases or undiscovered needs)
  • and more…
Need tips how to reduce advertising and propaganda?

Stop ads with adblockers like Adblock Plus.

Tips how to reduce advertising

  1. When browsing the Internet or checking your web-mail we can automatically and effectively fight advertisements with free browser plug-ins like Adblock Plus  (Firefox, Chrome, IE).
  2. We can use and configure our web browser to stop unwanted cookies and scripts to minimize email spam.
  3. If TV in our country shows more than 5 minutes ads per hour – we can get our news from the Internet or radio or a good paper newspaper (it is easier to skip the ads there).
  4. If radio has more than 5 minutes commercials per hour we can switch to Internet radio channels
  5. If also our Internet news/radio sites show commercials in their videos & audio broadcasts we can switch to “proper” alternative media.
  6. We can put a label “No junk-mail please!” on our mailbox or door (and catch the poor delivery guy at least once when ignoring it)
  7. We can choose not to earn our living or any money advertising a product – unless we are convinced it serves mankind. Even bloggers have alternatives.
  8. We can pay attention and try not to fall for the many hidden traps of advertising on the Internet.
  9. If there is an unavoidable commercial, we can turn off the sound at least (and read a newspaper )
  10. If we are addicted to TV, we can make TV watching less convenient by creating obstacles and distractions (hobbies).
  11. We can turn of commercial TV channels on TVs in public places, like restaurants hospitals if everyone approves (possible in some countries without problems e.g. Finland)
  12. We can try not to face a TV screen when eating in a restaurant or waiting somewhere – if turning it off is not an option. We can also tell the waiter or manager that we do not appreciate commercials when eating.
  13. Avoid shopping malls with monitors showing commercials or “infomercials”.
  14. We can get to know the enemy and study its strategies (see also the list of its strengths below)


Fighting advertising helps to keep up democracy and investigative journalism

The media rely to more than 80% on advertising money. In addition the media get free content while corporations get people to buy for relatively little money. A most worrying side effect is that the media won’t bite the hand that feeds them. By supporting mainstream advertising we support the killing of investigative journalism and thereby the killing of democracy.

Get to know the enemy and beware of its strengths to fight advertising:

  • moving pictures and sound (strongest impact)
  • moving pictures no sound (strong)
  • sound (medium)
  • pictures (medium)
  • spoken words (medium)
  • written text (low)

The above list is based on modern cognitive learning theory. Learning is about wanted information. Propaganda is about  unwanted information e.g. advertising.

Based on learning theory and practical reasons a newspaper is a better alternative to TV news for the following reasons:

  • Written text is interactive i.e. the reader can choose what to read, how fast and how often.
  • The reader can avoid much of the advertising in newspapers easier that on TV.
  • Newspapers have many hours of content to choose from – this also means we can keep our mind on things that interest us.
  • Newspapers can offer more in-depth information as well as references to sources.
  • They can be used as search-able databases much easier than TV news

A possibly superior competitor to “paper news” is news on the Internet. Internet news sites share most of the strengths of paper-news but can also include:

  • interactive multimedia content (sound and moving pictures)
  • instant search-able information
  • links to external content
  • dynamic content (comments by readers and responses by writers)

The downside of Internet news pages is they may not be as portable and convenient at times – although this is changing with ipads etc. Another potential drawback is they can show moving ads (if not blocked) and their content can be manipulated after “print”. However, adblocking software can fix much of that.

We would do best to fight advertising while maximizing learning if we chose to use

  1. good alternative online news sites
  2. good mainstream online news sites
  3. good mainstream newspapers
  4. good alternative newspapers

The worst choice is to get our information from commercial TV with more than perhaps about 5 min advertising.

Keywords: how to reduce advertising, tips, ideas, tricks, evil advertising

  2 Responses to “14 ideas how to reduce advertising and over-consumption”

  1. I agree, advertizing is by its nature affecting our opinions more than anything else.

    Of course, not all advertizing is bad.. If I have a product that would help millions of people, but can’t adverise it, it will do no good to anyone. But with a powerful advertizing campaign I can bring people to try my product and give them real value.

    In a world where all advertising would be removed, how would any company tell people about their products and sell them?

    Instead of eliminating all advertising from my life, I would like to be able to choose the advertising I get (what and where). I hate the commercials in TV or radio, because I can’t choose them or turn them off..

    • Thanks Lauri for the first comment on this new blog.

      I agree with you that advertising should be opt-in and certainly one can do a lot of good things using it for a good cause or genuinely good products.

      In fact, we will need some really good marketing people to get the masses to turn around and start fighting the out of control spiraling consumerism.

      I also agree we would not want to and could not remove all advertising.
      However, one approach could be that companies could make their services available on a central (invisible) database e.g. website or service. Someone looking for a product would type the criteria including desired location for use/delivery. An algorithm that uses the input parameters including shortest delivery routes and great feedback etc. would produce a short list of companies to chose from.

      Not perfect but perhaps a start. No need for spamming, printing thousands of signs, ads in papers etc.. and totally opt-in.

      I will write about this in another post.

      You are right, a problem to solve would be the situation when companies would benefit from a service they are not actively searching for. I have some ideas and will further think about this and perhaps with the help of some creative readers who are willing to post an idea, we can work something out – at least as a first step to battle the current mess.

      I am not against all advertising. In particular all true opt-in should be ok – a bit like the mayor who banned all outdoor advertising in Sao Paulo. Outdoor, news papers, pamphlets are not opt-in.

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