Advertisements – The Cost of “Free”

Have you ever listened to a song on a streaming app such as Spotify or Pandora? How about when you are watching Hulu or YouTube TV? Ads pop up everywhere! We are the most marketed to culture in the world and everyone is vying for the money in your wallet / bank.

Recently, I remember hearing an ad on a kids YouTube channel that was clearly not appropriate for children. I am thinking to myself. “this is outrageous! How in the world can they throw content out here on a ‘safe’ network?” It was at that point that I considered paying for the upgrade to remove ads. Have you been there?

It is a frustrating position because I don’t want to pay for something that I don’t absolutely have to. I understand and am accepting the risk of listening to these ads that companies pay slots for in order to get air time. At first, I thought I don’t want to pay for removing ads out of principle. Now I am taking a deeper look at the cost of “free.”

Last year I was watching the World Series with my older son. Mind you, this was a day game so clearly children are up. Most kids want to watch TV (with or without parents), but in this case, my son wanted to watch baseball. You will never guess the types of advertisements that were flooding the screen during TV timeouts.

Horror movie trailers.

What used to be a family pastime has now transitioned to a ploy for companies to gain visibility for their product or service – in broad daylight no less – in order to boost numbers and ratings. As a parent, I cannot have my children subjected to such material. Think of the nightmares that could ensue. Think of the late nights when your kid comes to you in your bed explaining they had a bad dream. Now you are losing sleep and you have to be on guard to mute or shut off the screen to protect innocent minds.

You have heard the phrase Garbage In Garbage Out right? What are kids minds (and stomachs) are filled with on a daily basis is affecting their overall health. Companies are trying to infiltrate your mind to get you to buy things when you think of a certain color, scheme, fragrance, image, feeling, and now they are targeting your kids.

The same type of inappropriate material was rearing its head during the NBA Finals. It pops up everywhere. There are certain services that we like that do not have commercials or ads such as Netflix and Hoopla (tied to the local library). Spotify is the worst when it comes to age appropriate ads. Pandora at least has kid-friendly material, I just don’t like the fact that they are catchy tunes. Everyone can think of a few like car insurance commercials or fast food restaurant chains.

The other day I heard my son repeating a song about Tyson snacks. He has no clue about branding or the reasoning for the message. It simply was repetition, consistency, and noteworthy. These images, songs, billboards, jingles and other areas of marketing have completed flooded our brains. We don’t know how or when to shut it off.

I am still on the fence as to whether or not I am going to start paying the upgrade to remove ads. It would make life easier knowing that we aren’t bombarded with images or flooded with advertisements daily.

What are your thoughts? Are you paying the price?

Published by MadsenFinancialCoaching

Madsen Financial Coaching was created to bring awareness to personal finance. When you pay attention, you win! We work with clients to understand their behavior and relationship with money, as well as basics of personal finance such as: following a budget, eliminating debt and building an emergency fund to name a few. We want you to succeed, and it starts with your willingness to put in the work.

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