Creativity Culture Life & Philosophy Social Media

Digital Graffiti

“Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.” – Banksy

Of course, Banksy was talking about street ads. But Internet ads are no different.

You should free to comment on ads in any way you wish. I use random emojis and insert the occasional quip on Instagram ads. I also call them out, such as when a marketing services firm used a Leonardo DiCaprio image from Wolf of Wall Street to promote themselves.

Does Instagram even have a creative review process? All it (re Facebook) wants to do is cut corners to make Wall Street happy.

Instagram is no longer an imaginary world.

All content is advertising. But inserting ads between beautiful images is a paradox. Instagram is exchanging art for commerce, treating its users as dupes.

But creators aren’t stupid. They know that they’re other ad-free places to show off their galleries. The VSCO Grid is one of them.

The wave of the future

The friendliest way to monetize content is subscriptions. YouTube announced an ad-free service this week. The Financial Times is still behind a paywall. Drip is a service that allows fans to subscribe to music catalogs. I can’t wait to pay SoundCloud’s monthly fee for an ad-free experience.

No one wants or likes ads. They ruin experiences. What I love about watching soccer is that there aren’t any commercial breaks. Watching an NFL game, on the other hand, is a sequence of ad, replay, ad, and more ads.

The Internet should be ad-free. Fans have shown that they are willing to pay with their wallets, exchanging money for a cleaner experience. We don’t another 50 years of traditional advertising.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.