The Advertiser Bias

I’m always reminding myself to avoid this.

I call it the Advertiser Bias; basically, when someone or especially many people try to give you something, you automatically want to reject it, even if it’s something you want.

I first learned this 20 years ago when I was living in London as a struggling artist / filmmaker. I was trying to find amateur actors to appear in my first amateur short film – and I couldn’t find any. Nobody was interested. I then posted an advertisement in the local actors’ newsletter and immediately received 200 CV’s in the post (including from people who were not interested when I was chasing them.)

What’s the lesson? I didn’t suddenly become Spielberg. The description of my film didn’t change. The only thing that changed was I became the Advertiser.

This is an extension of another well known bias : humans naturally value things they have to work hard to obtain.

So if it comes too easy, you automatically attach a lesser value to it.

The blunder is that we have built a world around ourselves where things that are truly valuable are now so much easier to obtain – but our ancient brains are still wired to chase after things that are hard to get.

But yes, back to the Advertiser Bias.

Recently, I had a need to hire a Digital Marketing person. I found 2 or 3 people on Linkedin and contacted them directly. They all flaked.

I put up an advertisement on a Job posting board. I received 94 replies.

I took this time to remind myself, to not automatically dismiss an opportunity just because it’s handed to me.