No Free Lunch

We all have a love/hate relationship with advertising.  For the most part, we say we  hate it (except for the Superbowl ads) but we love – and usually take for granted – all advertising does for us.  As one who spent more than I could ever calculate on radio and television advertising for the better part of a decade, I got accustomed to people coming up to me and saying “I really hate your ads.”  Sometimes it was me in the ads they hated, others it was the omnipresence of the advertising itself.  Of course, they would say this to me while in my store making a purchase so it was easy to smile and point out “I understand, but it got you here.”

One of my long time friends recently posted a comment regarding a piece she had heard which stated that is you use the internet free (gmail, hotmail, yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) then you are actually not the customer, you are the product.  

This has always been true.  Advertising pays for the studio, the reporters, even the traffic helicopter for your local news.  It pays for the television drama you watch in the evening and your favorite radio programs, the articles in your favorite magazine.  It subsidizes the cost of sports and entertainment tickets of all kinds, allows our Olympic athletes to train full time and of course, it is the revenue source of countless “free” apps, games and internet programs.

Every media has always collected data – “demographics” and as much audience information as they could get in order to both tailor the program to your taste as well as charge advertisers appropriately.  The data collection is not new even if it has gotten more sophisticated, but what in our world hasn’t?

The attempt by businesses to get to know you better is not part of an evil plot, it is merely an attempt to try to serve you better, to better fit your changing needs and to stand out from competition in an ever changing marketplace.

Those advertisers are companies who provide jobs for us, our families, neighbors and friends.  They put money into our local economy in many ways and improve our quality of life.  Whether it is the local pizza parlor sponsoring the Little League team or Facebook which allows you to stay connected to friends near and far – advertising serves an important role in our lives.

Sure, we all get tired of ads sometimes but please, next time you are enjoying something for free, keep in mind that someone is paying for it.  Be kind to those advertisers who provide what you use and enjoy.  And if you are an advertiser, be proud of all you help add to the quality of life of every American through your ad dollars.  We wouldn’t have the highest standard of living we enjoy without you!


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One Response to “No Free Lunch”

  1. Wilma Says:

    Sunny, I just wanted to stop by and tell you how much I’ve been enjoying your posts. I’ve been reading and not commenting for a while, but I love your insights. Thank you for sharing your years of experience with us.


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