Commentary & Media 20 Aug 2007 01:32 pm

Consumed by marketing

Think about how much of our lives is consumed by marketing. Looking down right now, I note that my shirt is a billboard for a business (albeit defunct), my shorts and shoes bear the logo of the company that made them, the monitor on my computer is branded by Dell, and the telephone next to the monitor says Panasonic.

And that’s just one quick scan of the immediate area. My cupboards are filled with brand-name products, or off-brand products bought in reaction to brand names. The TV pumps in hundreds of ads each day, as does the radio and Internet.

In 2005, automobile manufacturers spent $20.9 billion to get their messages out to the public, according to Ad Age. That was enough to put them, collectively, on top of the advertising heap. The top company, Proctor and Gamble, spent $4.6 billion to spread the word on its products. Even a relative lightweight (by comparison) like communications wannabe Vonage spent $414 million in 2005, good for only eighty-sixth place.

A wise person once said that nothing happens until somebody sells something, and he or she was right: A product, an idea, a way of life, a political policy, all are sold and bought everyday, with life-changing results for all concerned.

Where does one go to escape? Nowhere, quite honestly, because even if you row yourself to a deserted island or plop down in the middle of a wooded glade, how did you decide on that particular deserted island or that specific wooded glade?

Chances are you read about it, saw it on TV, or heard a blurb on the radio. Or if it was recommended by a friend or relative, that person learned about it through advertising, or by word of mouth from somebody else in the marketing business.

Everybody has something to sell. More’s the pity.  

One Response to “Consumed by marketing”

  1. on 20 Aug 2007 at 1.Steve W said …

    I know what you mean, Chris. Everywhere you look is a branded product. Remember when generic was in? You could buy cereal in a white box with “Corn flakes” printed on it in plain black type. There were black-and-white packages of cigarettes, and other products, too. I can even remember seeing a paperback with a white cover and “Western” printed on it.

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