The Centre for Economic Policy Research analyzed advertising spending in 27 European nations over the course of three decades to come to this conclusion. The study found when a nation's ad spending went up, life satisfaction in the country went down or increased less than what was expected.
(I should have figured as much. I always felt bad after binging on “Mad Men.”)
Yes, this is a European study. But here’s the U.S. silver cloud: Seems watching Super Bowl advertising isn’t that bad, according to the study. We can surmise this is because a lot of drunk viewers love to watch advertising featuring the mishaps of average people -- mostly male -- in many creative ways.
Perhaps the lure to buy more products pushed by TV messaging has collateral effects. TV offers us products that many cannot afford: luxury cars, big-time financial management firm services (which promise easy retirement and big stock market gains), or expensive jewelry.
Consumerism can yield euphoric sentiment among U.S. citizens. But advertising? That’s aspirational at best.
And then there is this.
The richer a country's society becomes, the more advertising its citizens will see, according to the study. As life satisfaction rose and fell in these countries, advertising costs reflected similar up-and-down trends "a small number of years later."
Well, in the U.S. -- and other countries -- we have time-shifting technologies to avoid advertising, especially as it attaches to premium video content on TV networks and new ad-supported digital platforms. But as we all know, there is still plenty of TV advertising that does get seen.
Maybe future addressable advertising will help. Right now it is somewhat depressing, for example, to see so many pharmaceutical ads pitched on live cable TV news network shows -- as if these ailments are on the way.
Yet, we keep watching.
Maybe I can find a Super Bowl ad to cheer me up, featuring people laughing while drinking a low-cost beer in a low-rent bar. How about a new, semi-violent, somewhat animated-looking video? Nope. All depressing.
Turn to daytime TV advertising? P&G is running an ad for Febreze and everything isn’t so miserable. The TV life smells good -- for the moment.