We may think advertisements don’t really make us buy things; they just inform us about products in interesting ways. We, then, independently, decide whether to buy them.
So, when we regret buying something, all the blames are on us.
That is not true.
Adverts don’t just tell us about products. They are consciously designed to compel us to buy them. Corporations spend over 570 billion dollars a year to make this happen.
I used to watch the Australian programme Gruen. Every week, in a very entertaining way, it shows how sophisticated the tactics that advertisers armed themselves with. The title itself comes from the Gruen Transfer, a psychological exploit used in shopping mall designs. It makes you stay longer, slightly disoriented, which leads you to buy things you don’t need.
Colour palettes are consciously chosen to make us feel differently about brands. Is it only a coincidence that fast food restaurants have a lot of red? And here is a great article by Jen Reviews on how different colours affect you psychologically.
Even kids are not spared. By sharing their locations and activities on social media, they provide data ammunitions for targeted advertising. This is on top of thousands of exposures embedded in the kid shows they watch.
Advertisements can be good
Advertisements per se are not insidious. They are visitors of our minds, almost like guests who visit our homes and tell stories to our family. Adverts can and have changed the society for the better, for example by teaching girls what it means to behave ‘like a girl’.
In fact, we ourselves do it to one another, often for charitable intents. Older people around us sincerely share their stories and advice, advertising what they believe success and happiness mean, and promoting ways to achieve them. We then do the same to our own circles of influence.
Even this article can be thought of as an advert; it brings your attention to how powerful and widespread adverts are, and encouraging you to be more aware of how they affect you.
Independence from advertisements
A complete independence from advertisements is impossible. And since they can also bring positive messages, it is not even desirable. However, just as we would never allow all random visitors to come into our homes and be with our families, we also have to be selective about what we allow to enter and be with our minds.
We can do that through several ways:
1.Never underestimate the power of advertising
All of us are vulnerable. Be aware of that reality. The awareness of the psychological aspects of advertising makes you less susceptible to it. Even when you feel that you choose to buy something, those choices might have been made for you.
2. Build a firewall
Just like for your computer, build a system that strictly selects what enters your mind. Find a routine that works for you. Use services that are dedicated to upend predatory advertising model, such as Brave . If you don’t do anything, your minds can be hijacked.
3. Have mini ‘digital Ramadans’
Consider having short periods when you are fasting from all things digital. It may seem unimaginable at first, so start small — maybe just half-a-day every week. Build up from there. Use that time to be with nature, or deepen your connection with a family member.
4. Leave fewer trails online
Teach your family how to keep themselves from being watched online. This gives advertisers fewer data to target your insecurities. Otherwise, if your browsing pattern tells them you are addicted to smartphones, more adverts will show up, convincing you that your life is incomplete until you get that new phone. Use DuckDuckGo as your search engine.
5. Guard the two gates
There are two time periods you want to guard the most: the first hour after you wake up, and the last hour before you sleep. Instead of staring at smartphones, choose meticulously what you expose your mind to during these periods. Consider reading a book, journaling or praying. Guard those two time periods like they are gates of a fortress.
6. Seek less from the outside
Don’t allow your value to be determined by external coordinates, that is, by other people’s references of what’s valuable in life. Deeply think about what beauty is to you, what self-worth means, or what success looks like — in your own terms.
Don’t just accept it when they make you feel too fat or too ugly as a woman unless you buy their stuff. The new car or gadgets won’t add to your genuine worth as a man. Other people’s definitions of success might work for them, but even if you get what they have now, you might still feel empty. Seek your own definition.
Your decisions on what to think, what to own, and what to crave for determine your experience of Life. Protect your independence. Make it awfully hard for others, especially advertisers, to make those decisions for you.
 Brave wants to change the current online economic model that hurt our privacy and expose us to material addictions.
To support them, I have committed my website as a Brave Publisher. It means, if you use this Brave publisher support link:
- Brave will reward tokens to Inteleksi to promote its contents in the new model (no cost to you).
- You can install a free, new web browser. It filters trackers and other hidden elements, making your browsing experience 2X to 8X faster, and save your mobile data.
I know, making a change can make us a bit nervous. But you can always uninstall it later. At least, then, you have tried to be part of a better economic model. So, come on, be brave with me.