Like many other Americans, I stopped watching TV commercials about ten years ago. Between giving TV up for years on end (college, early grad school) to DVRs to Netflix and Hulu, we were no longer forced to endure traditional TV spot commercials.
Of course advertisers still want eyeballs, so our honeymoon from commercials only lasted a few years. Advertisers increased their efforts in other areas, most noticeably injecting commercials before and in between online video content. However, I find this kind of content much easier to ignore than TV commercials. I can tab over to another page and just listen for the commercial to finish or even mute the program and check back when the commercial is slated to end (don’t you love the countdowns?).
I wonder if advertising has become less effective in terms of drawing people to products with this shift in medium. I don’t know that I’ve ever been terribly susceptible to advertising since I almost never buy things and we research everything we buy intensively in advance. I’ve also probably become a bit savvier with age and focus on our finances.
No longer watching commercials has helped decrease my I-want reflex in one area for sure – seeing movies in the theaters. Because I don’t watch commercials I literally never know what movies are coming out soon or “in theaters now.” Not until a movie generates tremendous buzz among my peers does it crack into my awareness, and that’s quite rare. I think this is all to the good since I’m not tempted to spend tons of money to see mediocre movies in theater, which in my opinion really doesn’t add much to most movie experiences.
Looking back through my records, the last movie we saw in theaters was The Hunger Games, which was totally worth it because Kyle had recently read the books and was really excited about it. We’ll probably see the sequel in theaters as well since we are currently reading the trilogy aloud to each other (oh, and Ender’s Game, since I’m a HUGE Ender fan and we’ve read that together, too). We’ve certainly caught other recent releases either at our university or when they come out on Netflix, but that process provides time for the really great movies to be differentiated from all the rest so we can be selective. The thing about even seeing a movie in the theater is that you’re exposed to even more commercials before it starts, and that does tend to put “Oh, that does look good, we should see that” thoughts in my head that I try to shake away afterwards.
I’m happy that I seem to be able to ignore the newer types of advertising even as they have replaced traditional TV commercials. I do believe less exposure to advertising makes one “want” less. I am susceptible to movie trailers so I’m glad to be seeing fewer to none of them because I’m not crazy for the movie theater experience.
Do you watch commercials today? How immune do you think you are to advertising? Do you value the movie theater experience enough to pay the high rates?
photo from Free Digital Photos