The Future of Advertising Is In the Hands of Ad Blockers

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“I block ads because I believe ads can be so much better.”

This was a direct quote from an advertising student at the University of Texas. I visited campus recently and had the opportunity to talk informally with advertising students from the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations. What I learned affirmed my faith in the future of advertising. I also walked away with a strong sense that these young students, if given the chance to practice the craft the way they see it, would upend the whole industry.

First, I was blown away at how smart, thoughtful and energized these young professionals are about advertising and media. It’s exactly what our industry needs: young talent who believe advertising and marketing can both be better as well as help society, and who want to lead the way. They were passionate, and we discussed a wide ranging set of topics throughout our 75-minute chat.

Second, the students already have a high standard for corporate excellence and behavior. They are savvy and sophisticated, watching and studying everything. This extends to how they think about brands, advertising and the value exchange between their time and attention, as well as a brand’s message or promise.

When the topic turned to ad blocking, I asked the students which of them employed ad blocking. Half of them raised their hands. I asked why, and the professor interjected, “I know it doesn’t make sense that advertising students are blocking advertising.”
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