There is a widespread view afield these days that suggests we are helpless in the face of the marketing man and his advertising buddy. The thinking is that an ad urging us to buy something or a marketing campaign nudging us towards a certain lifestyle is enough for all of us to do an about face and live differently.
What astounds me in all of this is the presumption that we are just a bunch of brainless twits with no minds of our own. I see all the ads like everybody else and everywhere I turn there is some message or other extolling me to have a go at something I've not considered before. But the choice is my own surely.
Take the smartphone for example. When the iPhone hit the market I was genuinely interested. Years working for that company had shown me that they really try hard with their products and I was sure that it would be easy to use, reliable and functional as well. So I didn't buy one!
For years I used the home/office phones to "talk" to other people. When the mobiles first came they showed that you didn't have to be attached to a wall by cable. That for me was their allure. But they were still a device to talk to other people. I was an early adaptor of internet technologies and e-mail but they were a different function than speaking. I had a Mac for that and still do. The point is that I had no need nor wish to carry the internet around in my pocket, hence no iPhone.
In the last few weeks, hot on the heels of health scares around alcohol and meat, I am being told that campaigns are under way to get me to eat more beef and drink more beer. But I have always eaten enough and drank enough and the amounts haven't changed much in forty years. If anything, both rates of consumption have gone down with advancing years. So campaigning me is a waste of time because the bloke is not for turning, as it were.
When I started to drink beer first (17), there was a whole series of ads with the bye-line, "Guinness is good for you." So I tried a pint of it and thought, anything that tastes like rotten medicine must be good for you but then, I wash't sick. So my Guinness career was short. The only way this consumer could put a smile on the Guinness rep's face is if he offered me a Carlsberg. I just don't ever order a pint of the black stuff no matter how good their ads are.
I guess I've always believed that ordinary people watch an ad or see a billboard for something and either file it under 'maybe' or dismiss it as not for them. Certainly that is how I filter these things. But the modern belief is that we are helpless in the face of marketeers. The only time I think there is some truth in that is when we are actually in the market for a particular product. Lately I had need to replace the external speakers for my Mac. I went to one shop, looked at three competing products and picked one based on price and the fact that I'd heard of the manufacturer somewhere years ago.
As things stand this morning, I am not in the market to buy anything. Ads for this and that have been playing on the radio behind me since dawn and in all honesty, I haven't heard one of them. The point being, I decide when I need or want something and unless I arrive at that conclusion myself, no amount of 'urging' or 'promising' from any source will spur me into action. I do not understand the notion that shopping is some kind of good therapy because I hate it. Shopping for anything is a necessary evil to be engaged in only in emergencies.
A christmas present for herself is one such emergency! Any suggestions?