For the past few days, one particular question has been plaguing my existence: what if there was no advertising today? That’s an oddball of a query, considering I’m a marketing strategist. However, there is no more relevant time than today to dissect this inquiry. Let’s think about it.

Our entire lives are riddled with radio ads, TV ads, and social media ads. In fact, data tells us that we encounter 5,000 ads on a daily basis. In other words, 21st-century humans have been so desensitized to advertising that they developed technologies like YouTube ad blockers. If not, they simply cross their fingers and chant “No advertising, please” under their breath as they watch another video. People will do everything they can to get rid of ads.

  • What if a swarm of rallyists piles up outside your business holding a “no advertising sign”?
  • What if you have no advertising account or operate your business without a website?
  • What if people succeed in their pleas for no advertising?

Will your business still survive? There’s no question that advertising and marketing are two important pillars of your business. In this article, we’ll explore what the business landscape will look like without them. Furthermore, we will answer the age-old wonderment of what it takes to produce ads that people want.

What if There Is No Advertising?

Today, many businesses rely heavily on advertising to reach and engage potential customers. Think of marketing and advertising as a pillar that keeps a household from falling apart. In a world with no advertising, many companies would be faced with a number of challenges.

From struggling to reach their target audiences to promoting their products or services, businesses would be crippled. For starters, without advertising, it would be much more difficult for businesses to build brand awareness and recognition. This is especially problematic for local industries like residential home services. Business reach would be limited to their realm of association and community. Opportunities for expanding their service area and customer reach would be significantly more challenging.

Without the ability to create compelling ads, businesses won’t get their messages out and stand 600 feet above competitors.

Additionally, without advertising, competing based on price and quality will also be impossible. Ultimately, consumers wouldn’t have any way of knowing about the options available in the market. It’s sort of a double-edged sword — businesses and consumers will struggle in their own respective ways.

However, it’s a heavier burden on the commerce side. Drenching in my silent reverie, I realized that a no-advertising world is not just hard to imagine, it’s actually impossible. Humans are social beings, and word-of-mouth marketing operates among social relationships. That, in itself, is a type of advertising which defeats the purpose of my existential query.

As I dug deeper into my thoughts, I understood that imagining a world with no advertising is a problematic premise. After all, the motivation behind this inquiry is people becoming desensitized from the thousands of ads they encounter. Therefore, it’s not the fault of advertising per se — the real culprit is the advertisements.

Marketing Without Media

It is your choice of message that targets the customer, not your choice of media. There are rare exceptions, of course. But not many.

—Roy H. Williams

I have always been a firm believer that it’s your message that matters in advertising, not the media. As long as your message is on point, regardless of which channel you use to convey it, the ad will work.

Whether that’s radio ads or print ads, it will work as long as the message connects with your customers. However, that is not always the case, and I can name two scenarios when advertising was limited by the media.

First, who remembers the ridiculous fiasco of 2004’s Intellectual Property Protection Bill? In 2004, people found a way to achieve no advertising through PVRs or personal video recorders like TiVo. This technology became a huge threat to advertisers at the time. Ad agencies were worried that ads would become irrelevant as people skipped through them during recorded streams. Funny enough, the bill contained a provision to criminalize fast-forwarding through commercials.

But why exactly do people do this? It’s important to understand the core motivation behind people’s actions before jumping to conclusions. First and foremost, it’s the game or shows that people are after, not the ads.

Second, if ads are one bit interesting, people would probably watch them. The problem is that companies threatened to stop buying TV spots if the issue persisted, and PVRs died thereafter.

Also, just recently TV ad spending significantly declined. We observed the last plummet in TV ads spent in July 2019 when COVID-19 immobilized the market. However, that same level of decline was observed three years later during the same month (July 2022). Why? Simple. Because there was no Winter Olympics and NBA finals in July 2022. That means no one is actively watching TV— what good then does it do businesses to spend on commercial spots?

What do these two scenarios tell us? First, you need good advertisements to captivate people and keep them glued to the screen. Second, you have to meet people where they already are, otherwise, ads fall on deaf ears. Converging these ideas, the perfect ad is a combination of relevant copy and effective media. Disregard one or the other, and expect low engagement, ROI, and more people begging for no advertising. (P. S. Can you imagine advertising in the Yellow Pages today? Again, effective media.)

The Future of Advertising

There is no world without advertising, that much truth is clear as day based on our earlier conversations. Looking ahead, advertising will remain as relevant in the future, if not more, as it is today. However, with the increasing importance of advertising, so will people develop technologies to get rid of ads. Change is the only thing that is constant in this world— that’s true.

From the marketing standpoint, ads have been going downhill ever since, and there is no way to stop them. You could, however, go against the tide and better yourself from the Sea of Sameness.

1. New technologies will make it harder for companies to reach people with their messaging.

You have Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and a long list of platforms that streamline the advertising process. However, having more channels that enable businesses to advertise also amplifies the noise. More noise means more bullshit, and this translates to more people embracing the no advertising ideal. For your business, this means you’ll need more effort to break through the pandemonium.

2. The cost of advertising will skyrocket.

Since people reach and ROI through advertising will decline, the cost of advertising will skyrocket. That means more money for us and less for you, and that’s not fair. At that time, well-constructed ad campaigns and tastefully written ads will be more valuable than ever before.

3. As a result, more customers will join the “no advertising” movement.

It’s all a domino effect that falls in a circular motion. In the future, people will get sick of traditional advertising words and empty unsubstantiated promises.

With how things are, the future of advertising is grave for businesses that don’t leverage impeccable ads today. While modern technology has given companies the power to reach millions, they waste it with poor advertising. If you truly want to etch your brand in your customer’s procedural memory, invest in creating good ads.

The key is to craft relevant and impactful messages delivered repeatedly through effective channels. We can do these for you.

Can Businesses Survive Without Advertising?

No advertising? Never. Unless you’re satisfied with being a brick-and-mortar store having limited reach. For companies that want to make it to the big leagues, advertising matters — the good kind. If you’re looking for advertising experts who can elevate your business from obscurity, that’s us.

For many years, Wizard of Ads® has helped companies scale through unrivaled advertising campaigns and tasteful advertisements. We can do the same for your business. The question is: are you up for it? If yes, book a call.