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Imagine a World Without Advertising


It’s a capitalist tool, but even after the revolution, in the darkest days of red army rule and state-induced famine, the Bolsheviks had it. Imagine a world without advertising. Imagine if no organisations exchanged currency for promotion: No billboards, no radio spots, no TV commercials, no banner ads, no AdSense. No editorials, no splash pages, no magazine back-covers, no inside covers, no infomercials. Imagine if no one saw or heard ads anymore.

Imagine if the only way you would make a purchasing decision was because of the advice of other people you trusted.

That’s where we’re heading.

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4 Responses to Imagine a World Without Advertising

  1. Jye Smith says:

    Great post.

    We want to get that advice, I think in a way we crave to know what’s best. Do we always trust our friends? What about legal advice? Financial advice?

    Sure, products are best recommended through friends. But what about that 1st point of contact? How do we deliver that first ‘here we are’.

    But I would love to see it happen. But I think what we’ll see is the disappearance of more traditional ‘shout’ marketing, unengaging campaigns – and I sure hope so.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for chiming in Jye, I trust lots of people, not just my friends. There are bloggers and twitterers and celebrities and even people I dislike whose opinion I take into consideration when I make a purchasing decision. I think most people are the same. If we need legal advice or financial advice we ask people we trust to recommend a lawyer or an accountant. If we’re travelling in a foreign country and need a place to stay we take a guidebook.

    I wish we had a world without advertising; it would be survival of the fittest product and distribution would be the only rate-limiting step. It’s starting to happen in the digital world where there are no limits on distribution, but I suspect it will be a while before McDonald’s cancel their billboard or TV spend. As long as some companies have more control over distribution than others, there will be advertising.

  3. Spot the guy playing Reader catch-up! Interesting post Matt. I think you’re right in that we’re moving away from what advertising looks like right now, though I don’t think we’re going to see the demise of the 30 second spot any time soon.

    What advertisers are paying for is association (and eyeballs obviously). you watch Lost, this detergent advertises during Lost, therefore it is the detergent of Lost. Lost is also a social object, and there’s an interesting idea there around leveraging social objects in order to advertise something else…no?

  4. admin says:

    Oh I was just playing devil’s advocate and having a bit of wishful thinking after listening to commercial radio 🙂

    NASCAR is a better example of leveraging products against a social object. eg.

    – 92 percent of NASCAR fans say drivers could not run their cars without sponsors’ support

    – 85 percent know which companies sponsor NASCAR and its drivers.

    – NASCAR fans are three times more likely to purchase sponsor’s products.

    – 72 percent of fans are more likely to buy a NASCAR-sponsored product than a similar product not NASCAR related.


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