According to Business Insider, anti-ads are “ads that tell consumers not to buy a product, make some self-referential joke, or poke fun at the concept of advertising itself.” I have several examples of the concept on this web site.

A recent television commercial has a handsome spokesman explaining about the benefits of a certain cell service. At the end of the commercial, the actor says, “And you should believe me because I’m a British actor.” That is a good example of anti-advertising.

The concept works because of one stark principle: skepticism. We always knew we were consuming advertising, but we willingly suspended our disbelief because companies asked us to, and we went along. Now if companies don’t point to the absurdity of the sales process, consumers’ skepticism kicks into high gear.

By telling consumers, “I know that you know this is all made up,” we are in a twisted sort of way, earning back their trust. “I am selling you a product, and I know you know that.” Now that the curtain is pulled back, we can state our message without seeming to “trick” anyone.

Now, does it work? Yes and no. I will discuss this further in a future post.

Thank you for reading.