The End of Advertising: Why It Had to Die, and the Creative Resurrection to Come by Andrew Essex


According to AdAge, the global spend on advertising is around $965 billion which is expected to exceed $1 trillion very soon.

The Issues

  • There is a lot of noise out there. The media business, which has bloated to historic proportions via new platforms piling up on top of old ones, was filling the world with a relentless array of content, much of it ever nosier.
  • Many magazines had gone away, but many more things had taken their place. It was not uncommon for some Web news organizations to regularly deliver journalism – slideshows, listicles, clickbait – specifically designed to create more inventory to serve more ads, thus making themselves part of the problem, a storm surge of dubious content competing to be seen amid a historic amount of clutter, chich made those unwanted ads even more annoying, a vicious cycle some had taken to calling “infobesity”. And then there is the problem of fake news

Ad Blocking

  • According to SourcePoint, one in ten Americans had downloaded ad-blocking software, circa 2015. In Europe, especially in Germany and France, the number was closer to one in four people embracing ad blocking. Adobe issued a report that claimed 144 million people were using ad blockers; publishers stood to lose an estimated $21.8 billion in ad revenue.
  • In her 2016 report on Internet trends, the respected industry analyst Mary Meeker would proclaim that some 93 percent of the population had considered using ad-blocking software (while a mere 62 percent were annoyed by ads), and that the global ad-blocking number across mobile and desktop platforms was closer to 420 million.

Favorite Takeaways

  • Life is better without bad ads. it’s simply irrefutable. And no matter where you sit in this system, history tells us – or at least our moral expectation of history tells us – that plague and blight are eventually overcome; peace triumphs over war; love conquers hate; poverty, disease, and ignorance are eventually vanquished. The art of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.


  • There is still an illusion to the effect that a magazine is a periodical in which advertising is incidental. But we don’t look at it that way. A magazine is simply a device to induce people to read advertising. – Advertising executive James Collins
  • Hey Ads, People Are Just Not That Into You – headline in the Wall Street Journal,
    October 2, 2015