Expectation vs. Reality

People should be aware if they’re seeing an advertisement

A lot of people are tired of advertisements. For example, some of us are using ad blockers now when we’re surfing the web. A lot of people mute the TV when they see an ad, others may use different technics to avoid ads. But what we’re facing now, is advertisements that are not specifically tell us what they are.

If you see a billboard in a street recommending something, you can tell it’s an ad, but what if your favorite football player recommends something? Imagine Leo Messi posting a picture of himself drinking Pepsi. How would you know if it’s really his preference or it’s just a paid ad?

Such thing can affect our decision on choosing stuff.

Let me give you another example. Imagine you want to buy a deodorant and you ask your friend’s suggestion. Now it gives you two offers. Deodorant A is based on its personal experience and Deodorant B is suggested to you because it got paid to recommend it. Which one would you choose?

Of course you trust personal experience much more than a paid ad. Now if you don’t know Deodorant B is suggested because it was a paid ad, you may choose something you wouldn’t want.

Advertising is not just about buying something. Sometimes it’s just to change you opinion about a political party, or knowing something is made, or probably just to help you understand something; but as long as they are not clear about whether they are ads or simply a note, they should be illegal.

Advertising Standards Authority

The Advertising Standards Authority is the self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry in the United Kingdom.

Its role is to “regulate the content of advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing in the UK” by investigating “complaints made about ads, sales promotions or direct marketing”, and deciding whether such advertising complies with its advertising standards codes.

However it’s only in UK, it has a large impact on other ASAs and rules about advertising in different countries. For example, one of their rules is that if a video blogger advertises about something, it should specifically tell that it’s an paid ad.

What I believe is that advertisements have a really big impact on our lives and decisions. If we decide to do something because of an ad that we were not aware, we may get hurt in some ways. Some may lose their money, some may use products that are bad, some may start believing in something that may hurt people, etc.

If we don’t know whether something is advertisement or not, our freedom of thought is violated. We should be able to decide about stuff with full awareness and one if its prerequisites is to know whether we are seeing an advertisement or not.

By the way, when I said football, I meant real football, not the American football.

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Ali Reza Hayati

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.