If a company is advertising, not an actual product but themselves, they should be viewed with utmost suspicion and probably scorn.
Listening to podcasts, one hears all kinds of ads that they otherwise wouldn’t. Growing up with television advertisements as the dominant product-hocking and time-wasting media, I got used to certain formulas, a common level of quality, and consistency of content. Most ads were trying to sell me something. Podcast ads don’t divert from this entirely. They may be for more esoteric or outright unusual products and services, but they are still generally for products and services.
Then there’s the exception, when companies aren’t trying to sell you a product or service, but themselves, their image. This is not exclusive to the podcast medium, but it’s where I’ve become more aware of it lately. They advertise themselves in the plainest displays of self-promotion. They talk about the innovations they’re making, contributions they’re giving to charitable causes, how they’re making the world better.
Among the corporations engaging in this shameless self-servicing are the likes of ExxonMobil, Aramco, J.P. Morgan Chase, basically the wealthiest and/or most destructive organizations on Earth. Because these are the kinds of corporations that need positive publicity: polluters, thieves and hoarders, pillagers and rapists of the Earth. But, of course, they’re not going to get this positive press by natural means, from anyone else. The only people that are ever going to praise and fellate the likes of ExxonMobil are themselves.
I don’t care that ExxonMobil is working on carbon capture technologies and investing in clean energies of the future. They are largely responsible for the climate crisis, for the need to mitigate its disastrous effects, they’re doing precious fucking little about it now, and are in fact continuing to destroy and poison the planet. ExxonMobil is the goddamn devil.
It is, however, beneficial that we have such obvious demonic excrement as them producing their own self-serving ads. It shows the kinds of corporations that need to do this and helps distinguish them by the company they keep. Meaning, while we know that ExxonMobil is the goddamn devil, we may not know anything about corporation XYZ. Thanks to the trend, because corporation XYZ is doing the same thing as the goddamn devil, then we can assume that they are devils as well. They’re at least devil-adjacent.
Perhaps this should have all been obvious. After all, no decent entity needs to promote themselves that hard. Anyone who spends that much money and effort telling as many people as will listen that they are not evil are almost definitely one hundred percent evil.