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Why I Quit the Advertising Industry #TSOA – Edition 4

Posted by admin on October 3, 2019








There were many occasions throughout my six year career where I knew that the digital advertising industry was not where I wanted to be. 

I first started realizing that I felt uncomfortable in meetings when people were getting referred to as data and numbers that had to be “funneled” and categorized in certain ways to sell products to. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware this is just business but for me it was a hard concept to wrap my head around and I didn’t like how everyday people with thoughts, feelings and emotions were dehumanized as statistics that were there to just purchase products.


But this is the life of someone working in digital advertising. People are the targets and are there for one reason – to sign up to your newsletter, for a test drive, to register interest or to purchase. 


In order to do this, you have to have the most captivating and encouraging advert possible to catch the users interest and get them intrigued in what you are selling. In fact these adverts are incredibly important. Every single detail in an advert, digital or otherwise, has been meticulously planned down to the minute detail.


And here came my second “I want to leave this industry” moment. I found out that there are some psychologists who get employed by advertising industries and paid six figure salaries in order to focus on the minute details of these adverts. The idea is that they have to draw your attention in a way that is almost subconscious, to the point of being subliminal. 


This has been happening since the advertising industry has been around as you can see in these examples by Marlboro, Coke and KFC.This has since been banned, but it’s still a grey area and many tactics are still employed in order for ads to grab your attention and keep you watching. The fact that media agencies go to these lengths in order to enter to get their clients advert playing in the background of your mind in your subconscious tells you everything you need to know about the industry. 


So every ad you see on your favorite news site, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube has had hours and hours of teams of people carving out every detail to grab your attention and in some cases paying extortionate amounts of money to do so.


The third and final straw came one day in a meeting on a telecoms company I was working for. It was a team meeting and someone stepped up to present…


“We have spent the last couple of months working day in day out with data science to analyse the best time to show our ads to our potential customers. Using the masses of data we have, we found that people are most receptive to our adverts when they have just got home and have sat down to enjoy dinner with their families. They are at their most relaxed and happy and therefore receptive to the messaging we can show them.”

I nearly left the room. 


Not only are you a statistic.

Not only have creative and media agencies spent tens of thousands of pounds to ensure that their advert impacts you on an almost subliminal level.

They are now purposely targeting you when you are enjoying a meal with your loved ones after a long day of work because this is when you are most “receptive”. Or let’s be honest and use the right word here – vulnerable. Your guard is down and you can’t be protected from this.


So this is what it’s like working in digital advertising. 


And the people? 

Well, they remain blissfully unaware that they are being targeted like this on a daily basis. 


Alex Libertas


The Daily Chain



  • The State Of Advertising is a weekly address that discusses the digital advertising landscape and the problems that lie within it, and how blockchain is helping to solve it. The weekly series is co-authored by Alex Libertas from the Daily Chain, and Reggie from Gath3r