Wherever you go, whatever you look at (books, TV, movies, magazines, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) advertisements have so insidiously integrated themselves into media that as our eyes flick at speed across the screen (or page) we absorb, and acknowledge, commercial messages almost as instantaneously as we move on to the next blurb of text waiting to be read. There is a world out there that doesn’t feed its users more advertising content than editorial content, but it lies under the surface of mainstream media. You simply have to exercise a little effort to find it. Recently I came across a brand new women’s magazine called Lucia Journal. Lucia is all about providing a millennial audience with millennial content, without millennial consumerism. Uhm yes, I’ll take a saucy magazine please, and hold the ads.
Have you read a magazine without advertisements? Watched a movie without product placements? If you have, how often does this happen? Once a day, once a month, maybe more like once a year or even less infrequently. For some of us it’s never. Especially if you enjoy pop culture. What if you could have your women’s magazine, without unnaturally beautiful models selling glossy products? We are so socially saturated with commercials and advertisements that they have become akin to the white noise of life — a constant humming of capitalism in the background. Our over-taxed brains, at least brains that function as they are meant to, are capable of filtering out the burden of contemporary stimuli. And so, the abundance of PR hoopla fades into the periphery of our day, rarely acknowledged but constantly and consistently present. It is like a shadow, not quite imperceptible and never far from hand; a digitized haze of information overlaying everything. No longer is it a right to live in a world without commercial bombardment or information overload. It is the right of successful high-profile companies to shovel information down your throat at every turn. That this is the reality of our modern world, is a “fact” so easily accepted we don’t even realize we ourselves are the ones who allow it to perpetuate. Advertising is a simple and straightforward way to subsidize, or even eliminate, the cost of the cultural media we are so hungry to consume. It is sensible, and it is like drowning in sound you think you barely hear or sinking under the weight images you think you barely see.
We can choose to live differently. We can support cultural media that eschews commercialism, that strives to be inclusive and body positive, and speaks with a strong, clear and witty voice. We can partake in a media revolution by backing publications like Lucia, that turn to Kickstarter and crowd sourcing to launch themselves, even if its a struggle, even if it’s much harder than allowing advertising to infiltrate their pages. But, really, what is the difference between a magazine that costs you $6 and one that costs you $12? Aside from the equivalent of your over-priced soy latte, the difference is a series of moments without white noise buzzing in your ear.