Sunday, June 19, 2011

«Buy the new spring jacket from…»

If you see a friend who has bought a new jacket setting you back a thousand bucks and want one as well, you’re in trouble. Then the alarm bells should ring in your head. You may not know this, may not be aware of it, but you are duped. The advertising directed at youths today isn't necessarily like the traditional where a given product is shown on a screen or on a newspaper page or before a film. It’s far more insidious. The current method of catching youths in the ugly net of consumerism is called «buzz». A given company desperate for your cash doesn't shout, but whisper.

Those at my age are, generally speaking easy prey for commercial predators «earning» fortunes on our gullibility. Individuals among us, among them myself that don’t buy brand names or that buy last year’s fashion are usually described as sloppy. Those easily fooled are called well-dressed. The rest of us buying jackets, pants or bags with the same quality for some one tenth of the price are scolded by the trendsetters and those wanting to be counted among the trendsetters.

This is how it works:

A bunch of employees with a given advertising agency, usually called «communicators» are paid to cruise the hip sites on the Internet. The aim is to catch those perceived as leading in a given group of youths, those the others are emulating. This is the first step. If they buy and even somewhat like the product much is already accomplished. The rest is like a walk in the park for the communicators. They fool you and fool you into fooling your friends. Like with all advertising the product is really incidental. They don’t really sell the jacket, the shoes or the soda, but emotions, the sense of being successful. If you buy the product you’re successful. If you don’t you’re a failure.

This way, among others do people bragging about their independence, their originality become yet another easy victim of greasy, commercial machinery. It has little to do with intelligence or stupidity. You’re quite simply fooled into disconnecting whatever might remain of your reason. When a friend walks around with the latest jacket from xxxxx it isn't really him or her that is talking but the advertising. The fact that there are more pieces of the chain removed from the original source doesn't change that. It just makes it even more effective and dodgy.

I will recommend everyone to study this subject. Those aware of the mechanisms at work should tell everyone in their circle of friends. Parents should also tell their children about it, in a neutral, non-condescending manner. We should all unite to make this very uncool everywhere.

It most certainly is. To not have a single original thought in the head is definitely uncool. To not have an original thought in the head and brag about it even worse.


  1. I absolutely agree, we live in a world of conspicuous consumption. The "buzz" you talk about is everywhere, in movies, in television shows, and online. People who cannot afford to pay for a specific brand often feel shamed. I do feel hope in that I see a *small* shift toward embracing true individuality and we need to foster that and encourage free expression.

  2. We do, in all things. People with empty dreams are easy to rule.