ADHD and Marketing – the hidden connection

Posted on: March 11, 2020 Posted by: David Aparu Comments: 3

ADHD and Marketing – the hidden connection

Working as a marketer in a world that seems to be suffering from ADHD is definitely an interesting job. I lost track of the number of times a friend or co-worker told me they are suffering from ADHD. The Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the affection that makes it difficult for us to concentrate. This article aims to look at possible causes and offer a plan to fix ADD once and for all.

What causes ADHD – The Brain Noise

My daily job involves trying to catch people’s attention and sell them stuff online. I’m a digital marketer with a background in film studies and filmmaking. On the side of my full-time job, I work on the EscapeArt platform. That includes designing the website, the magazine, reaching out to artists, art dealers, curators and galleries. I conduct interviews with different people in order to understand the art market better.

In order to be able to get this project started, I had to formulate a high level of discipline. It would be a lie if I said I didn’t feel like I had ADHD myself. Sitting down at my laptop and working on pieces of content after having worked for 8 hours on similar projects seems like insanity and more often than not I find myself struggling to concentrate and actually get started on the articles and interviews.

ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder can be defined through its symptoms. Firstly, people that suffer from this disorder will find it difficult to concentrate on one task at a time. Furthermore, what I’ve found from my own experience is that there is a symptom I’d like to call brain noise. These are loud thoughts in my head that constantly yell over my attempt to stay focused. On top of all these symptoms, scientific research seems to indicate that ADHD would be a consequence of depression. If you’d like to learn more about the scientific part of ADHD here’s some interesting research.

The relationship between Marketing and ADHD

In advertising we have this thing called a pattern interrupt. This implies that we (as marketers) shove a sale’s pitch or ad and interrupt the action a potential customer is engaging with offline or online. Let me make this real for you:

Let’s say you get home from work and sit down to paint. You are scrolling through youtube in order to find an art technique tutorial that might help you achieve a certain artistic vision. You finally find the art tutorial you’ve been looking for but before you even manage to start watching it you have to watch a 2-minute ad about the best paintbrush on the market. This is what we refer to as pattern interrupt in digital marketing.

There’s no wonder so many people suffer from ADHD and other attention deficits. Marketing is purposely creating ADHD by using strategies similar to the pattern interrupt.

Mobile notifications are causing ADHD

mobile notifications are causing adhd

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop with aggressive marketing techniques. Take the same situation as before: you are sitting down trying to paint. You finally get into a flow when suddenly you receive a notification about somebody that commented on your latest Instagram post. You naturally stop painting and check it. This same behaviour can happen with emails, phone calls, Facebook messages and any other form of notification.

The world of marketing is developing an attention deficit (ADHD). We are trained in a way that we feel the need to constantly check our phones for updates and then we wonder why we are unable to focus and hear a constant brain noise inside our minds.

How to train the mind to focus?

There is no universal formula that will help you to focus and get rid of the brain noise. Each person is unique and one way might work for you but not anyone else.

On the other hand, since the topic of this article is the relationship between marketing and ADHD; the most obvious course of action would be to reduce the amount of pattern interrupt that goes on in your life.

  • Get rid of your phone when you work.
    • if your line of work involves a laptop, disconnect from the internet whilst you work.
    • if your line of work involves the internet, there are many tools that will help you remain focused: here’s a list
  • Familiarize yourself with the Pomodoro Technique
    • this is a technique I often use when I need to get work done in a short amount of time. It involves a set amount of active focus time with allowed breaks in between. The reason why this technique works so well is that you know there is a break coming so any impulses to check social media or unfocus your mind can be delayed until your break comes. Here’s the online tool I use.
  • Meditation
    • One of my personal favourite meditation practices is called pranayama. The first step of this technique aims to regulate your breathing. That means inhale time needs to equal exhale time.
    • Once you are comfortable with the breathing the next step would be for you to focus your mind on a thought. Every time you catch your mind wandering off return to the focus thought you have initially set.

The featured photo of this article was created by Matias Almargen. We recently conducted an interview with him that can be read for free in our first issue of EscapeArt Magazine “What makes art good?”

3 People reacted on this

  1. David,

    I’ve recently been diagnosed with ADHD. I read your article, thank you for the empathy for people like me.

    I’m about to get fired from my desk job yet again. The brain noise you talked about is exactly what it is… I hate that that’s there.

    I need help. A support group, a stranger i could talk to who can understand me, a job. But there’s a disconnect between what I enjoy doing and what my resume looks like.
    I’m a stranger on the internet to you, so if I don’t hear back from you, that’s ok.


  2. I stumbled across this post when I was looking for some sort of work done to look at the correlation between marketing and adhd. I feel like I have always been pretty susceptible to marketing and I’ve wondered why and I just wanted to see if there were any studies on it and somehow I ended up here. I really was struck by this partly because most of the things that you suggest are things that are suggested to individuals who show a need for support with executive functioning as someone with ADHD might. The tools that you use are things that I have been doing for most of my life without knowing why I did. But also because I can’t agree with you more, notifications are the worst thing that ever happened to me. I try to have as few as possible, but it seems like with every update I have to turn off notifications for some app or other again. At any rate I feel as though most of the people on this side of that big old neural diverse spectrum probably tend to be a little more open to, but susceptible to, the outside world.bbI’m sure there would be little to no creativity without it though.
    Thanks for sharing your mind with the world. I found this to be very interesting.

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