Re: Good luck trying to use my Facebook account or Google searches to predict how I will vote...
Well said, DougS! Whilst I am one who will, for brevity, say that I am an ad-slingers nightmare, because I tend not to be influenced in my purchasing by ads, in my case, that's shorthand for "I am not so easily swayed that I am going to switch from a brand that i know and like due to an advertising campaign, nor will I buy something I don't need due to an advertising brand" . Reality tends to be more nuanced, however
I find some adverts very cute and engaging - I actually miss seeing certain ads involving meerkats since I stopped having a TV licence, which I did because I realised I watched TV so seldom. I loved Sergei! Never in a month of Sundays was I likely to use the services provided by those behind the adverts Sergei was in. Similarly, nothing on the earth is going to persuade me to buy A Certain Brands chocolate over Another Certain Brands chocolate because I know with certainty that I prefer the taste of the latter product better. So that's ads shown to be non-influential then?
Edge cases. Situations where there's no strong case for one brand over another, in quality price or utility, any of 'em will do, and there's no trust issues involved (some companies I will NOT deal with because I believe them to be unethical). What will then sway me is which is more convenient to deal with, and if that's much of a muchness - yep, how funny their adverts are! :-)
Well what about ads for things that I didn't know exist before? I can't recall specifics, but I know that a couple of times in my life I've stumbled across an add for something whose very existence I was previously completely unaware of, could immediately see the utility of, and on the strength of that bought said item. In the absence of advertising, no sale would have been made.
Where I think things go horribly awry is in the sheer amount of money put into marketing (waves, smiling, at adverts with oodles of CGI!)., especially when it gets to the extent that a noticeable percentage of the cost of the item being purchased is due to the advertising for it. This is insane. See, no matter how much advertising is thrown at me, I only have so much money to spend, so I can only consume so many products. Once consumers know which products exist, all that advertising does is have SOME effect on which brands get purchased to what extent.
Many years ago, a supermarket by where I used to live started selling a range of "unbranded" products in very plain packaging for which they did no advertising beyond plonking the products on the shelves. They were markedly cheaper than well-known branded items because no money was spent on advertising them. I tried them, and for the most part found them to my liking well enough that I switched to that "non-brand", except, I think, for the breakfast cereal which just didn't taste quite so well to me (I had a sweeter tooth back then - I might be fine with the same product now). This was great, it saved me money so I was able to afford the occasional treat a little more frequently - whilst that range lasted.
Sadly, evidently not enough other folks bought 'em, and the range got dropped, which mystified me (seems a win-win situation to me for consumers and producers and retailers alike!) until I came across an article that gave insight into why those sorts of brands often didnt last - because many folks associate higher prices with better quality or simply luxury, never mind "the kids will only eat xyz brand". So poor folk eat what they must, wealthier folk eat what they can afford, whilst rich folk take their pick and have gold leaf sprinkles on it as well - to show off their status. No, I don't think like that, and I suspect many here do not either, but we're not exactly representative of society as a whole, now, are we?
So yeah - I'm far from easily swayed by advertising, and advertising will not induce me to buy stuff that I do not want/need, but am I utterly uninfluenced by it or unaffected by it? No.