According to a limited recent report, Australia has the highest per capita advertising spending in the world, marginally ahead of the United States.
Australia is a significantly more expensive country to advertise than others so the above data isn’t particularly surprising, but this bit of soft news got me thinking about just how pervasive advertising is in our society.
It all starts with the kids, who are bombarded with toy and fast-food advertisements carefully crafted to tantalise their malleable and susceptible brains. You’d hope that things change when we reach school age but that’s not entirely the case. We’ve recently seen Coles in particular feel the brunt of top officials pushing against corporate sponsorship in schools.
As you grow older you may develop an interest in sport where you’re bombarded with sponsors – banners on the sides of the stadium, dyed into the grass of the playing field, plastered on jerseys and even ad breaks whilst the game is still in progress. If you’re interested in music, the majority of festivals come with branding everywhere, not to mention those artists with clothing endorsement deals and the like.
Even your way to work you may be in for more than you realise. You may wake up to a radio show filled with sponsored messages and ad breaks, wait at the bus stop with a giant advertisement branded on the side (the bus also has ads along the roof) and then arrive at the train station where giant billboards are displayed on the tunnel walls.
However scary or confronting this may seem, sponsorship is a reality as it helps organisations fund projects and serves a purpose in letting the public know about new products.
But how much is too much? Is there such a thing as advertising pollution?
In my opinion… it’s complicated.