Monday, February 27, 2012

I hate marketing


Today, I went on a shopping adventure.

I was in a grocery store, inhaling this collision of odors between exposed produce and yeasty baked goods.  The establishment was foreign in nature, featuring animal organs pickled in jars of pink fluid and hircine meats shrink wrapped in the deli.  As I made my way through the flexuous aisles, I couldn't help but remember another such excursion.  For whatever reason, the tape of it came right back up and out of the archives of memory.

It was in the spring of 1989.  It was late at night and my best friend and I were hanging out with a recent college grad, the son of a professor my father worked with at the college.  We stopped into a 24hour grocery store on a snack run.  This grad, we'll call him Sam, had served time as a missionary in various nations of Africa.  I had no idea just how much this would affect his shopping experience at the time.

As soon as we stepped in through the door, it was as if a switch flipped in Sam's head and his behavior became...bizarre.

"American food stores crack me up," he said.  "I mean, look at all this."

He grabbed a package of paper towels from a display and threw them at us while breaking into "Today Is Your Birthday" by The Beatles.  He then grabbed a pizza and tossed it like a Frisbee.  Needless to say, management was unhappy with this and advised that we all leave before the local gendarmes be called to the establishment.  My friend and I left in embarrassment of Sam's actions while Sam seemed genuinely mystified as to why we were kicked out.

Now, 23 years on, I get it.  I see what Sam meant.  The delusional justifications we make for our own excess.  The greed.  The commercialism.  Worst of all, the marketing.

Several people have told me I should work in marketing.  Earn a lucrative paycheck for coming up with clever ad copy and imaginative campaigns.  I should be "the face of someone's company" as my mother in law once said.  Great.  And the difference between me and a whore would be?????????  Honestly, I want to smash all that advice with a heavy steel pipe.

Why do I hate marketing?   Why do I loathe this very trend of "branding?"  It's the falsehoods, the fakery, the artifice, the chicanery.  "Hi!  I'd like to tell you about an important new offer!"  Bullshit.  You want my money.  Not one single solitary atom in your body gives a damn about me or anything that I care about.  All you care is that I might have money to spend on your boxes of cereal or whatever it is that you're hawking like a crack dealer.  I doubt that people in marketing have ever had an honest, genuine day in their entire lives.

I walked through the store today, brand labels smacking me in the face at every step, whining "buy me buy me buy me!" like cheap hookers at a street corner.  Even though the market was specialized in ethnic foods, it still carried all of the same processed, commercialized goods that we Americans have come to rely upon for familiarity's sake.  I kept walking until it all became a wall of white noise to me.  Numbness washed over me.  It all just became surreal after a time.

This what we are.  This is what we've become.  Most frightening of all, this may be all we will ever be.


Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

1 comment:

  1. On Facebook, YardOBeef left this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVZo1Jjfshw

    Watch the vid. It's brilliant and sums up exactly how I feel.

    ReplyDelete