It’s interesting just how much value an advertiser puts on your time. Or rather, how much monetary value is put on it.
How much value would you put on your time?
If you’re paid hourly, then I guess you’d apply your hourly rate to your personal time. So, say you earn £10 an hour, then your time away from your work would be a similar value, right?
Or is it actually worth even more?
Isn’t your personal time even more precious to you?
I ask because there’s an advert currently running on the radio (no, my obsession with advertising has not subsided) that suggests your personal time is extremely valuable. So valuable, in fact, that you’d rather use this company to sell your car than waste time selling it yourself, even though you could make up to £1,000 more doing it yourself.
Roll up! Roll up! Let me sell you some time back
This got me thinking about how advertisers have been trying to save us time (when not saving us money) for decades.
In the 1950s there was a revolution in the kitchen and a new breed of time-saving devices.
Jump forward to the 1970s and we see another time-saving advert, one of my all-time favourites.
It was considered slow to boil potatoes and mash them by hand, so if you wanted mashed potato, you could just add boiling water to Cadbury’s Smash instead.
The Martians below certainly found it hilarious.
In the 1980s, Yellow Pages suggested that author J. R. Hartley could have found his book on fly fishing by calling the first bookshop in their listing.
By the 1990s, the ads suggested we could phone the first business in their directory and they would be straight round. (Try doing that today!)
So ad agencies, over the years, have sold us ‘time saving’ products but there has always been an underlying cost.
After all, our time is precious and we as consumers are willing to pay to keep it that way.
But the big question isn’t necessarily how much more we’re prepared to pay, but why we pay more to save so little time?