Is Advertising Making Us Miserable? New Study Says It May Be So

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Television audiences dislike advertising because it often interrupts the action, drama, and laughs during their favorite shows. Unless it's the Super Bowl, ads are just not all that popular. While show interruption is a likely factor, it turns out there may be another reason why folks don't like commercials. According to a recent study, there's some data to show that advertising may be making folks miserable, even in cases where they're making more money.

In an independent study, the Centre for Economic Policy Research analyzed the advertising spending in 27 European nations over the course of 3 decades. After crunching the numbers, the study (via Marketwatch) provided statistics that showed when a nation's spending on advertising went up, life satisfaction in the country went down or increased less than what was expected.

Additionally, the richer a country's society became, the more advertising it would see. More money means advertisers sinking more money into campaigns that will convince consumers to purchase their products. As life satisfaction rose and fell within these respective countries, advertising costs reflecting the same changes "a small number of years later."

The Centre for Economic Policy says that their study is one of the first to show evidence that high levels of advertising could lead to more miserable people overall. It's an allegation people can likely understand, considering a goal of advertising is to convince consumers to buy a product. That can entail preying on our insecurities, reminding us of what we don't have, or that we can always have better.

It's an interesting narrative that isn't hard to get behind, but there are things to note. For starters, this is only one study, and it'll take more research before the data can be offered as a definitive fact. Additionally, some of the changes in the rise and falls in happiness are only dictated by a few percentage points, so we're not talking significant spikes and drops in all cases. Finally, this is a European study, so Americans were not surveyed.

With all of that said, would the world actually change if this knowledge was proven to be widespread fact? Advertising is a part of our everyday lives, and not even cord cutters can completely escape advertising if they wish to watch live television. It's fair to say advertising wouldn't disappear just because it makes people upset, even if some wish it would. Plus, sometimes ad make us happy. Where would we be as a society without KFC Robocop?

Have some thoughts on advertising, and it's impact on our daily lives? Make your voice heard in the comments below to share some additional comments. Stick with CinemaBlend for more television news in the meantime, and head on over to our midseason premiere guide for a look at all things coming to television over the next couple of months.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.