|Photo from a beach on a recent evening bike ride - not a billboard in sight.|
One reason I like being in nature so much is that there are no ads to be found there. No billboards, no jumbo screens, no seductive voices in your head telling how much better you will feel after spending a few dollars more.
I think that is why people like going to the beach - sand, surf, and a comforting, uninterrupted visual expanse of ocean. No advertising to be seen to obscure water, sky, or the setting sun. I am actually surprised there aren't floating billboards off of popular beaches (if you are in marketing and advertising ignore this).
Climbing mountains, or even hills, works as well. From a lofty perspective, everything below blends into the massiveness of the overall view. There may be advertising down there somewhere, but it is so teeny tiny that it is rendered insignificant compared to the landscape.
I wish the relentless propaganda to purchase were that insignificant all the time, but it is not. It is an expensive undertaking that has the power to change our brains and the way we think (or don't think) about what we really need.
The marketing and advertising industry spent half a trillion dollars in 2012 to blanket as much of your life as possible with pleas to get you to spend more of that hard earned, and dwindling, supply of cash. Wow - that is more money than people spend on buying birthday presents for their pets.
Spending on the mind manipulation of the population was up 3.2% globally, 4.6% in North America, 6.7% in Latin America, and 14.6% in the Middle East and Africa. No austerity there, although ad spending was down 4.2% in Europe.
Europe must be doing something right - perhaps they are aware of the dangers to their minds as free thinking individuals. It would be nice if the downturn in spending were because they wanted to protect their children rather than because of economics.
Research has shown that advertising is harmful to children and other living things. Advertising messages are carefully designed to stimulate (or relax) certain parts of your brain. The ad agency's work is lead by research in neuromarketing and other related areas of study.
Some psychologists have called out their peers for assisting advertisers in targeting children because of the negative effects ads have on child development. "Thanks to advertising", one psychologist says, "children have become convinced that they're inferior if they don't have an endless array of new products." And it isn't just the kids that feel this way, is it?
Of neuromarketing, which uses magnetic resonance imaging techniques to study the brain while high on advertising, Wikipedia says:
"... the perception technologists of the market are very tempted to learn the techniques of effective manipulation of subconscious brain activity. The main reason is to inspire the desired reaction in people’s perception as deeply as possible."Eww, and yuck. How do these people live with themselves, and how do we expect children (and other living things) to stand up to this onslaught of harmful media messages?
I have never been "inspired" by an ad, or at least not in a good way. I am inspired by going for a long bike ride into the hills. Or plunging naked on a hot day into a deep, cool swimming hole on the river. Or watching eagles, osprey and vultures soaring on the ocean breeze.
The marketing vultures, that are constantly circling overhead, are going to have a hard time with me. I am not going to let them pick my wallet dry. Spending money on things I don't need has never made me feel better, and all the MRIs and focus groups and galvanic skin response data won't be enough to change that.
Why? Because I frequently enjoy being in nature, the place with no advertising.
Just me, and life. No manipulation, no buying anything.
|Some of my favourite trees that I like to visit on my bike rides.|
"I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all."
- Ogden Nash