Ads Ruin Everything

Charles Lafontaine
5 min readMar 24, 2024

This is Rose Namajunas moments after defeating Zhang Weili for the women’s UFC strawweight championship. She did so with a perfect head kick that ended the champion’s reign in such incredible fashion that it would later be known as the Kick from a Rose. It was April 24, 2021.

This is the culmination of a lifetime of hard work and dedication. Self sacrifice, brutal working and training conditions, and borderline poverty. All of this cornerstoned by several personal tragedies and abuses suffered by the new champion throughout her journey. It all led to this moment when she defeated her final opponent and was officially declared the world’s greatest female fighter in her weight class. One can almost feel the overwhelming emotion and the simultaneous expression of pain and triumph.

She had to experience this monumental achievement while holding a can of Monster Energy drink.

The picture you’re looking at is iconic in the still nascent sport. It’s an incredible moment immortalized in this one frame, instantly recognizable to fans across the globe. Yet it will always be marred by the importance of placing an ad on every square inch of space that may occupy a potential customer’s eye over the fragile beauty of a moment that can never be recreated. This outpouring of emotion from someone who has struggled for years, whose roadblocks and challenges even laymen can relate to, forever tainted by the eyesore that is ubiquitous marketing.

The video paints a clearer picture of the beauty of this moment. If you can stomach the man who ensures she’s holding the all important product prior to the announcement of her victory to the world.

Rose certainly knows this moment as it’s the undisputed pinnacle of her career. Surely this picture is hung up somewhere in her or a loved one’s home. But both it and the memories that it invokes will have to be shared with the overriding need to sell a sugar and caffeine infused beverage.

This is the state of modernity. Our precious moments can be so easily captured and shared but the underhanded among us have ensured there will always be the opportunity to slip an ad into them. Now any instance of beauty or triumph is a chance to garner just a little bit more of the attention economy. A pivotal moment in someone’s life reduced to a blip on a chart somewhere that is tracking sales data.

Today’s ads are bought and paid for by the people wearing them. Your pictures with friends and loved ones always seem to have an ad masquerading as a status symbol infecting it. They often don’t even need wording to be recognizable, being so constant in our fields of view and in the media we consume, most of the time only a rudimentary symbol is needed to convey an entire message.

The image of a swoosh logo is immediately recognizable. Worse yet, so is the feeling it invokes regarding the product. Most people reading this have yet to see the picture but you know what is being described perfectly. Quality athletic wear that athletes apparently swear by to better their performance. And you too can be as good (or at least look as good) if you add it to your wardrobe.

Golden Arches. An apple with a bite taken from it. A multi coloured letter G. You’ve seen them all and you recognize them and their line of products by description alone. You are very likely making use of one of them right now. Not as a direct result of their quality but because of the overwhelming power of the advertisements that left you with few options when deciding on a product to fulfill a need.

My word processor automatically capitalized “arches” after the word “golden.” That was not an accident. Nor was the instant flood of adjectives that followed the mention of the swoosh. It’s a direct result of advertisers ensuring that they are everywhere and therefore constantly on your mind, even if you may accidentally write a few words about one of their symbols.

The issue is not so much the existence of advertisements as their insistence of melding themselves with our lives so thoroughly that people now equate themselves with the products they buy. Your chosen phone is not just a tool you make use of, it’s a part of your character. Are you a Mac or PC? Because you have to be one or the other, you can’t simply use either or. As a young person in the current year, you are socially conscious and can join Kendall Jenner in ending society’s ails with a soft drink.

Advertising has grown from billboards, magazine ads, and mass marketing. It’s now a part of us and our lives on fundamental levels, attempting at all intervals to be visible at all times. Becoming immortalized as their logos are found in every family picture and video. Their slogans used in everyday conversation and their brand name becoming more than just synonymous with the product they offer.

There is no shortage of brands one could instantly recognize by logo or jingle alone, each carefully designed to take the place of that product or function in your mind so that the next purchase is, by default, one from their own. These infectious representations are purposefully insidious in their design. Advertising no longer attempts to show the benefits of a product over the competition, opting to convey the feelings of satisfaction and joy along with specific character traits that one would receive from ownership. This is to constantly elicit the positive emotions that trump both reason and logic in an attempt to persuade you to buy what they are selling.

Now is it any wonder that companies clamour to have athletes hold, use, or otherwise pretend to enjoy their products? Connecting their brand to some of our most iconic moments in human achievement virtually guarantees the success of their subterfuge.

Advertising may be ubiquitous in our time but constant exposure should not be confused with harmlessness. It’s well past time that we reconsider our relationship with advertising and the role it is permitted to play in our lives. If only for the sake of preserving inimitable beauty.



Charles Lafontaine

Philosophy, politics, social commentary. Life of the party.