I remember the first time I learned that a sports arena sold its naming rights to a company. The arena was the old L.A. Forum, and they changed their name to the “Sponsor” Forum. I was shocked. How could they do this?!
Now, every arena and stadium sells naming rights. In fact, some companies sponsor multiple arenas- the net effect is that I am not sure which “giganto airline” arena is the arena in question- the one in Dallas, or the one in Miami? The arena in Philadelphia has changed names so many times I have lost count. The advertising has lost its effect on me.
Advertising is all around us. It must be very effective. Super Bowl ads were sold this year for $4.5 million (30 seconds only). If you haven’t purchased your spot yet, it’s too late, because the ads are sold out.
I am aware of a lot of advertising. I accept that it is pays for most of what we watch on television, and it helps subsidize much of the cost of professional sports.
But I try to avoid advertising. It seems like a waste of my time.
I don’t watch a lot of TV anymore. I read someplace that the average American watches more than 30 hours of TV a week. I don’t watch an average of 30 minutes a week. The last TV show I regularly watched was Hill Street Blues. (I had a job in the late 1980s that involved rotating shift work. I wasn’t able to watch anything regularly, so I fell out of the habit of watching TV).
I watch a bit of sports- but if truth be told, I follow sports scores on my phone instead. It’s been years since I’ve watched a sporting event from start to finish on TV.
So I avoid a lot of advertising.
Advertisers don’t want me to avoid them. They have become very creative. It used to be (as one of my cousins says, “back in the olden days”), that advertising was limited to TV and radio. If I got up from in front of the TV during commercials, I avoided commercials.
Now, there are commercials, it seems, everywhere. When I fasten my seatbelt on an airplane, the seatback TV has advertising. When I walk from the plane to the terminal, the walkway is covered with advertising. The luggage carousel at the airport has advertising. So does the taxi taking me to my hotel. It is difficult to avoid.
When I drive, I see billboards with high definition displays. The ads change every 10 seconds. The advertisers want me to look. I try not to.
Take a look at this webpage. There isn’t any advertising. That is on purpose. When I set up this website, I had a choice about whether to accept advertising and/or sponsorships. I chose not to, for a few reasons.
First, I view it as an intrusion. The purpose of this site is to allow me to practice writing. That’s it. I want to paint pictures, with words. This site is like a blank canvas (or one hundred canvases), and I am going to paint. That’s what I am here to do, and it is what I love to do. I’m not doing this to practice advertising.
Second, I want you to enjoy it. You come here to read my writing, and I hope you enjoy it. I think it would take away from the experience if you were looking at commercials while you were here. Your experience should be more like going to a library or a coffee shop- a relaxing interlude, not a commercial assault.
Third, it seemed kind of complicated, and I wasn’t interested.
Lastly, it didn’t seem worth the effort. I read someplace that I would get paid about $3 per 1000 page views. So even if 1000 of you read this every day (and 1000 of you are NOT reading this every day), that’s only $3 a day. Not worth the hassle, the paperwork and the taxes.
Bruce Springsteen sings “I’m not here on business, baby, I’m only here for fun”. That’s what I’m here for. Fun. I hope you have fun too.
Does that make me a saint? Not at all. If someone contacted me and said, “Hal- let’s make this the Diet Soda-Hal Blog, and we will pay you $5000 a day”…..you would be looking at advertising for whatever brand of diet soda was foolish enough to part with that much money to sponsor me.
But that is an problem I do not have. As a result, we remain advertising-free.