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Ever notice how much advertising you see? If not, you’re probably seeing too much! Advertising can make up your mind for you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t stress over how you can’t measure up because you can’t get all the stuff you’re supposed to! You can get some control over how much you have around you and how much you notice it. Here are some things you can do to stop the ads and take back your mind.
The problem with advertising is that it’s everywhere, even on this site and others like it. We all need to pay the bills, after all.
But when you look at some venerable magazines, the right-side pages are entirely given over to advertising and the left side squeezes in content, which is often marketing too. About a third of what you see on television is advertising. Radio isn’t any better, it seems. And online or in the newspapers, content competes with ads for space.
And the advertising reinforces itself in the stores. There are often special displays, like in the drug stores, for “As Seen On TV” merchandise. I get a kick out of that because I see them for the first time on the shelf. But there are mail-order houses that also feature them in your real-life mailbox.
All of this expensive effort is made to convince us to buy things. Never mind your own personal experience with buying and using stuff. Disregard the price. You need this now. Get it now. Go into debt, it’s that good.
So we do. Unless we want to take back our minds.
Stop the ads online
My favorite browser, Firefox, has a built-in ad blocker that works well. I like that because I don’t have to look at irrelevant material when I go to read some content. I also like it because ads are very visual. And pictures and videos take longer to load. That makes my experience of the desired content worse for the waiting.
I also have a little program from Firefox that keeps things on pages from following me around the Internet. It’s called Ghostery. My husband, the IT guy of the household, insisted, so I do it and it has saved trouble so far. It will interfere with surveys, by the way.
The problem with blocking ads online is that the big sites often throw popups at you for doing it. Most of the time you can opt through and read the content anyway. But not always. One site blew me away for not accepting the ads.
You can accept the ads by turning off the ad blocker for the site. But a lot of these sites that fuss are going to get a paywall up sooner or later anyway. I haven’t found anything that deals with that.
Unsubscribing to emails from people whose wares you don’t routinely need to buy is a great way to stop extra advertising from wasting your time. You can go to them any time you want. You can even predict sales–just look for holiday weekends.
I like to go to Major Geeks for free add-on computer programs so if you don’t have an ad blocker, check here. (Not getting paid to say this.)
Stop the ads in print
The easiest way to cut down on the advertising is to cut down on the media that print it. I only get magazines now that pertain to things I am passionate about, which means in my case, hobbies. There are ads in them but I can filter them mentally and pay attention when I’m in the market. Most of the time I can resist ads for ball winders but if I get fed up with my plastic one, I can find out more about available models.
My magazines cost a lot but they have much more value to me than broadbased women’s magazines that are over 60% ads (my estimate). And those aren’t cheap either.
Mail order catalogs we cull at the post office. I used to buy clothing more, which put me on mailing lists for catalogs. If I don’t need to look any more I can’t manufacture “need” of a new pair of pants or whatever.
I mentioned skipping over ads in my magazines. It’s easy to do. Just use your mind to filter for stuff that looks like content and ignore things that don’t. It isn’t 100% but it’s better than getting absorbed in a Mr. Clean ad.
Stop the ads in TV and radio
My methods here may be radical for most. We can’t get broadcast signals and don’t subscribe to any pay television. I watch only movies downloaded from YouTube. I’ve seen some very interesting films this way. And no commercials. Best of all, we decide when to see them.
If you’re comfortable subscribing to services that show advertising, use the big chunks of time devoted to them to change the laundry from washing to drying. Walk around the house to get exercise. Do a few reps with the barbells. Pick up the winter gear and hang it to dry. Why sit and watch stuff that doesn’t fulfill a need?
If you do miss an advertisement for the Jeep you’ve been hankering for, don’t worry. It’ll be back in 11 minutes or so.
Radio gets you a little differently. Because you’ve been grooving to hair band oldies, you listen when they start talking about pizza to go or fantastic lube jobs for the car. Best to let them flow while you wait for the music to come back. Or if you are up for another bill, you can subscribe to satellite radio.
My strategy is to load up some music on a CD or phone and play it through my car’s sound system. Or I listen to public radio. They sometimes have to thank companies and foundations I’ve never heard of for giving money, but that doesn’t bother me. I just filter it out. At home I play recorded music.
Turns out you can’t stop the ads totally, but you can see clearly if they’re not everywhere you turn. And if you can see clearly, you might be able to think straight and save some money too. Try reducing advertising’s hold on your attention and share your experience in Comments.