Saturday, November 7, 2015
Sucked in By Advertising
“For me, the answer is to ask myself a very commonsense question: do I want to buy something because it will be useful in my life? Or because it will help me feel like a smarter, better, more popular or successful person? If the answer is the second reason then there’s a good chance I’ve been duped by the marketing.” This quote from Greg Foyster in a recent article in The Guardian has stayed with me since reading the article yesterday morning. To read, Here is the link.
Foyster, a former marketing and advertising genius, but an environmentalist on the weekends, hit a wall between his two worlds, and that wall crumbled. Realizing he was highly skilled at being the "duper", he not only quit his job, he seems to have gone on a crusade expounding on the ills of what this over commercialized, over consumerism, and over abundance of non essential stuff has cost the world in terms of lost resources and real human connectedness.
I've been more mindful of my own purchasing and why I purchase what I do, but sometimes too late. Just yesterday, I spent $71 on magazine subscriptions as gifts and for myself and DH. I had recently decided not to renew any magazines, but then DD#2's music program was selling magazines, renewals or new subscriptions, with 40% going into her account. "Great-gift giving taken care of and fundraising-a Two For", my mind thought. Only after I hit the submit budget that I realized, a regular subscription would have been less than 1/2 of what the fundraiser price was, and even with the money in her account, I probably spent at least $10 more than returned. I could have just put the same amount of money aside. Duped by the promotion. I was caught, hook, line and sinker.
Multiply my $10.00 by the hundred kids at her school, and the thousands of kids at schools all over the country, and the magazine publishers just had a sales force of 14-18 year olds make them millions of dollars in extra profit. So why did I order, and why did I forward on the link to my family and friends? Easy-I wanted my daughter to belong, to fit in. I wanted her to have earned money in her account the same way other kids were earning. I didn't want to be the mom that doesn't participate in the fundraisers. Even though financially, a straight donation would have yielded more money to the program. She has more fundraising opportunities coming up. Fruit sales, candy and wrapping paper, Meal Deal cards are just a few. I will try and refrain and just do what I should have done in the first place-just set the money aside.
I've done it before, purchase to make myself seem someone different than who I actually am. I am not the glamour type, and my skin care and makeup routine is simple and minimal. It always has been and it works for me. How then, did I so easily plunk down $85 dollars once at the Elizabeth Arden counter, after trying a new lipstick shade? I was surrounded by more pulled together, classy dressed women at Macy's, customers and sales staff, with large posters overhead showing beautiful women, women that looked like these women-not like me. I felt judgy eyes looking at me, telling me I didn't belong there. I'll prove them wrong and out came the credit card. Minutes later, I walked out with a little black bag of make up remover, cleanser, toner, and my free gift with $85 purchase. All items similar to ones I already had at home. I only went in Macy's to buy a box of Frango mints!
Advertisers make their living out of selling an image and and a lifestyle. As we move into the season of giving, but also the season of advertisers dreams, I hope to remember I already have an image, and I already have a lifestyle. Both have served me fine for nearly 50 years.