Olivia Porteus started a course blog in October 2017. Here’s one of her posts considering the way adverts are hijacking space – from walls to minds.

With hundreds of millions of companies out there, all screaming out for your attention, the world is becoming more and more packed with advertisements, coming at us through new platforms every single day.

Something I’ve noticed recently is how no blank space can just remain blank anymore. It has to be covered with a striking image and catchy slogan, designed to entice us and have us hand over our hard earned cash without thinking twice. Jay Walker-Smith, who’s the president of the marketing firm, Yankelovich, says “We’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day today.” [Source: CBS News] 

It is impossible to leave the house now, or even turn on your phone without being hit by a wave of advertisers whose incentive is to grab your attention and to keep it.


Apps on our phones are possibly one of the most recent strategies for advertisers to target audiences, by evolving and expanding further into these platforms. Instagram is just one example of how, whilst scrolling through harmless pictures in our lunch break, we could be being advertised to without even realising it. Socialite and businesswoman, Kim Kardashian, can earn anything from up to $200,000, for posting one single photo of her posing with a product to her 88 million followers. She has recently been seen advertising for SugarBearHair, a company I myself had never heard of until being shown it by Kim K. The company has since had a mass increase in sales due to their Kardashian endorsements, with even their own Instagram followers shooting up to a whopping 1.2 million. Cheers Kim!

Obviously I see the irony here. Me even just talking about SugarBearHair could maybe cause you the reader, to look into who they are and what they sell, and could even result in you buying some of their product. Thus contributing to their advertisement and making them even more successful. I wonder how many sales they’ve made through word of mouth since endorsing in Kim’s Instagram…advertising isn’t so black and white anymore…

There was a time when the only adverts we’d really take notice of where those on our TV screens. Well either we’d take notice of them or use this scheduled break as an opportunity to go into the kitchen and make ourselves a cuppa. But even though we find most of our television adverts utterly boring and just 3 minutes we have to sit through until Ant and Dec return to greet us again, there are some adverts that the nation actually get excited for…

Take the famous Coca Cola advert which appears on our screens every Christmas, often highlighting the start of the festive period. Since when did adverts actually excite us? The appearance of this advertisement, because let’s not forget, it is still a company just trying to sell us something, often trends on Twitter after it broadcasts, indicating just how much the nation are talking about it. The lorry from the advert even goes on tour around the country…STILL ADVERTISING! This advert in particular has become more than just that, it’s become a national symbol that we as a country all recognise as being, “the start of Christmas.” Just the notion that a company has become so broad, and world renowned, that we as a culture recognise it as starting off one of the most celebrated, religious, festivals of all time, tells anyone that this company is beyond successful. And I fully expect the CEO to be softly, snoozing away right now on his mattress stuffed with $$$.

(c) olivia porteus

Straight aim
Technology has become so advanced that companies even now have a tactic of targeting us personally… with the one thing that catches our attention more than anything: our name. Through the use of our computers, we have entered our names hundreds, if not 1000s of times, into accounts, which are then logged into a database, which the advertiser can use to target us. Personalised ads now exist, where our names are used as a way of direct address to catch out attention and to allow us to imagine ourselves with the product. This is such a clever tactic, one that I think can only grow, maybe even with companies finding a way to use pictures or videos of ourselves too…

No hiding
Advertising is something that in modern, city life, we can never escape from. They follow us like a shadow from the moment we wake up in the morning, until the moment when we fall asleep. The money spent in advertising every year in the UK, is estimated to be around £20 billion. That’s why in a world full of blank spaces, there is always somebody on hand with a metaphorical paintbrush, waiting to cover it up.