Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Price of our Marketing

As I sit in my here in a room that can only be described as "reeking of decay", suckling on a bottle of a generic brand of Peptmol Bismol in a futile effort to stem my heartburn, one can surely reflect that there are serious flaws in the nature of our global economy. I certainly won't have solutions or anything that can be labelled as constructive here, but I sure will gripe like a hormonal adolescent denied the privilege of sleeping over at a friends house by their parents as there might be members of the opposite sex present.

I'll be concise for the sake of everything really. Our free market is based at least on some precipice that players in this economy will behave rationally and in their best interest. Each person will purchase, consume, produce, trade, invest, in a way that logically is to their benefit. Having a free market that allows us to act logically with countless other players involved can drastically fuel our growth. As players purchase or sell for items that are logical to do so with or trade in a way that is mutually beneficial, the overall economy can grow. 

Look at all them actors behaving in the global economy!
The main problem with this is that we don't often behave that logically anymore in our economy. In our consumer based economy, we are continually using our funds to buy or purchase things that are not  that useful and are  thus not that logical to invest in. The major forces in play that cause irrational economic behavior is the billions of dollars spent on marketing (464 billion is one number given in 2011).

One might say that as actors, we're just  idiots if we act based on marketing versus our logical interest. To some extent now we have to develop our ability as a populace to find ways to give as little cognitive effort to much of this marketing. However, companies would not spend this sheer sum if it wasn't effective, and obviously decades of growth and research in the Marketing industry have made them very good. 

Look at what everyone is able to build through effective marketing strategies! Huzzah!

For many people, advertisements are probably one of the largest sources  of information (albeit skewed, biased, or sometimes blatantly false) that they receive billions of dollars are spent advertising to children as they then become a major influence on their parents to buy things and literally don't have parts of their brains to understand the falseness and ill logic of whatever message an ad is touting.

Every child comes out ahead after watching this ad!

Nothing that advanced here or new, except to say that so much of society is continually trying to fuck you. Everyday, message after message  in a wide swath of formats, colors, camouflages and guises, you are a target by some institution to spend money on something that wouldn't be that logical for you to spend money on. 

Much of this leads to success for multi-billion dollar industries in things that simply harm us as a society. The fast-food, tobacco, casino, soft-drinks industries; all multi-billion dollars in pedaling bad things. 

The crossroads where Marketing Av.and Strategy St. lead to horseshit lane (sorry not that clever/ productive)

People would counter that these industries thrives as consumers choose to but their products and thus it is the nature of humans to do this. I would counter that again, these are  industries that rely on effective marketing to be so prevalent in getting people to behave poorly for themselves. Mind you, these vices do attract to us in a basal way, but without the forces of marketing (and marketing to kids) their size would be inordinately smaller. Joseph Stiglitz, wrote similarly (as many others have I assume) in his hit and feisty piece "The Price of Inequality".

"...mainstream economics assumes that individuals have well defined preferences and fully rational expectations and perceptions. Individuals know what they want.But in this respect traditional economics is wrong. If it were true, there would be little scope for advertising. (147)" 


redguinness said...

I'm no economist, but I think "rational" is a matter of perception. We don't get fast food thinking it's unhealthy, we get it because we don't want to cook and a restaurant takes too long and costs more. Or its late and nothing else is open. Rationally it would make sense to get the Whopper if we do not factor in healthy or unhealthy. America is a lazier culture in today's world, where convenience trumps healthy and entertainment overrides all.
Loving what you write. Hope to see more soon!

DefEnjoyment said...

Thanks so much Red Guiness. I could definitely see all of this might be a matter of perception, so it can thus seem rational to eat out more. However, my question would be to look at how advertising and the growth of consumer culture made this decision seem rational. I don't think it used to be the norm that people ate out so much. Mind you there are lots of forces that change group and individual behavior, but the proliferation of advertisements to me certainly seems like one of them.

Thanks so much for your insight.