Advertising works, even on those who say advertising doesn't work on them. Why? Because advertising isn't a nice tiny little black box. It doesn't only apply to one tiny aspect of what you view. It applies to *everything*.
What does this mean? Do you remember phrased related to "selling yourself"? How to sell yourself for a job interview, or when meeting new people, networking at a conference, etc? Basically, that's an advertisement interaction. You advertise something (yourself), and others react to what is presented.
The point is, that's not a TV commercial, a radio spiel, or a banner ad. Its an abstraction. And everyone here should recognize what you can do with an abstraction.
Every "thing" is an extension of a base "thing". C#'s System.Object; Java's java.lang.Object; etc. Every single thing that can be described as "creating an impression on a person" is a similar type of base object. Or perhaps having an appropriate interface would be a better analogy.
So what has those properties? Well, pretty much everything. Every TV show is advertising all its actors. Every road is advertising the city council. Every well-manicured or overgrown lawn is advertising for the family living in a house. People focus on the content of the advertising object (the actual jpg with "Amazon" on it, or the flash video from IBM, or whatever), and somewhat miss that it also applies to the object itself, as well as the container for that object, and the means of accessing and delivering that object, and on, and on. Each of those are also objects that themselves have that same 'advertising' interface.
And on the web, every ad is advertising for the advertisers. The /contents/ of the ad is advertising for the company that wants you to know about it and its products, but the ad itself is advertising for the ad company that created the ad; its delivery is advertising for the ad delivery network; and its presentation is advertising for the site that hosts it.
People say they hate annoying ads, but we also know that more annoying ads make people more aware of the companies they're advertising for. And there's a part of you that realizes that there are three or four separate entities involved in the presentation of that ad. For an annoying TV commercial, is your anger going to be at the product/company being advertised? The people who created that travesty? The people at the TV station who screwed with the volume settings so that the commercial was a lot louder than the show you were just watching? The people who are spamming this ad through all the late-night commercial slots so you see it all over the place?
There's plenty of anger to go around, and, honestly, there's probably not a strong emotional connection to the product itself; just the correlation between the strong emotion and awareness of that product happening at the same time. So you hate the commercial, but are more aware of and likely to remember the product itself, without necessarily hating the product that much more. Now if you bought said product and found out it was complete crap, the emotional association is solely with the product itself, and almost certainly will negatively impact your likelihood to buy it again.
So what have the advertisers done? They've well and truly advertised themselves into being one of the most hated industries around. It's more subtle and distributed than something like Verizon customer service, but because it's so constant and pervasive, it's become completely embedded in the public consciousness.
So, people hate ads. Not necessarily the ad -content- — I don't hate Ocean Spray, or Amazon, or whatever — but the -ads-. The delivery networks; the presentation; the slowing down of page loads; the tracking and surveillance; the way they affect the page design; the malware exploits; the annoyances and noises and disruptions.
So the advertisers have convinced us that what we truly, truly want is to be free of them. Not the advertising itself — if I see a Coke machine on the street, I might very well buy a Coke, and I don't find that problematic — but the product and service that the advertisers are providing. The intrusiveness, the annoyance, the risks, and everything else.
People are conflating the idea that adblocking is all about the ads with the reality that it's all about the advertisers. If someone is ok with relevant, non-intrusive ads, what are they really saying?
* The idea of 'relevant' ads also has its own little rant. There are plenty of ways to have strongly relevant advertising without any tracking whatsoever. There are also plenty of times when non-relevant advertising can be quite useful as well.