Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Senseless Victims of Marketing

You know how I'm always yammering on about how what we eat is largely cultural and almost always because of marketing? And how I'm always saying don't be a senseless victims of marketing - especially for your food choices?

My pal Tony over at FED (Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction - a great paleo/primal blog) posted a terrific article the other day about how vegetable oils overtook animal fats in our culture as the fat of choice. Its an excerpt from The Happiness Diet by Drew Ramsey. I have not read the book but I can tell you that this is exactly how marketing works. Its a good wake up call if you don't fully understand how advertising impacts your life - and especially your health.

Is marketing evil? Nope. Not necessarily. But as a consumer you need to understand how you are being manipulated. Every TV show, movie, and magazine out there exists for one purpose - to sell you something. Start looking around and you'll find it everywhere.

Ever notice that in the very center of your screen is a perfectly framed shot of a phone (necessary to solve the crime), computer (with logo), or that glamor shot of the car (with logo) whipping around the corner? And for no apparent reason, in the middle of a car chase, the hero turns to his sidekick and says, "Wow! This car handles great with the new and improved technical cornering system." Features and benefits right there as part of the story. We always laugh when that happens.

Or maybe its more subtle. Have you noticed that everyone's favorite 30 minute cook - who I blame entirely for the sky high price of Parmesan cheese - is now making burgers all the time? Do you really think she just got a hankering for a big ol' burger - or do you think she scored a prime contract with the beef folks to encourage you to make burgers for dinner?

My favorite example is the formerly-chubby B-list stars who were on Dancing With The Stars and lost weight thru the sheer amount of physical exercise... but then get signed up with a million dollar deal for one of those weight loss systems. Them gals didn't get skinny on that prepackaged food, friend, she just danced her bottom off.  Literally.

Marketing is either subtle or its not. But its out there. That soda/beer/pair of shoes is just what you need to make you happy. And don't you know that you already have the symptoms of a dreaded disease with a cool acronym they are showing on the TV? You should run right out to the doctor... now. In that flashy new car with the on-board GPS system. And of course, stop at the drive thru to get that fabulous new meal combo. Be sure to talk on your new phone while you are driving there. Then you'll be happy.

Marketing is all about creating a need you may or may not have. Then telling you what product you must have to fill that real or imagined need. All those products will take away all your problems and then you can be happy like those folks in the commercials. And all of them use corn oil - not that old lard. Who wants that old school lard? Not the cool people...

To quote the great philosopher, and Dread Pirate, Roberts..."Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."  But in our case.. everyone is always selling you something. You just might not know it. But now you do. 

Happy Wednesday everyone! Now keep your eyes peeled wide open for who is trying to sell you whatever they got. Don't be a senseless victim of marketing!


KatB said...

Loved this post even though it made me cringe. By night I'm a fledgeling farmer... by day, I work at an interactive ad agency. (shudder) I'm just an admin assistant, but still. And thanks - now I have Wesley's voice in my head. :)

Reasonable Season (Me) said...

First off - A Princess Bride clip = perfect way to round up my morning! :)

Ads for pharmaceuticals should be outlawed. When did couch-potato Susie become an expert on what medications she should take – especially because she’s “feeling blue,” or “overwhelmed,” or “tired.” (How about less TV, eh Susie? More exercise? Better diet? Drop those corn chips!) So here comes the 30-second commercial, telling her she can get her life back if only she tells her doctor she needs to take FeelBettera. Maybe even forever. Oh, and maybe she’ll need a companion med to ward off side effects, like depression.

(I know I’m oversimplifying here. There are people who truly need help. But I’d rather see the treatment plan come from a vibrant, healthy doctor-patient relationship than a marketing technique.)

Anyhow, I don’t believe marketing is evil. Hey, some of my favorite grassroot non-profits have great marketing – for great programs. And certainly I don't begrudge companies for putting their good products in their best, right lights. But I agree with you. Consumers need to educate themselves too. (There’s that whole personal responsibility thing again…) In the end, we're the ones opening our wallets and clamoring for what we're told that we need to buy.

Sorry for such a long comment! You obviously struck a cord with me today! LOL!

Rae said...

Damn you and your movie references! Lmao! :)

Now I have to go watch The Princess Bride. I won't be happy til I do. :)

Sonja said...

Watch out For Rodents of Unusual Size!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Nah.. don't cringe, Kristen, what do you think I did all those years? It works because it works... and its on consumers to know what is going on.

Hey ReSeason! Yep and yep...and poor on the couch Susie probably feels bad b/c of her low fat/high carb diet thats full of sugar... which is being sold to her along with those meds. Hum.... And nope its not evil... look at what Oprah did to get folks reading with her book club. We just all have to be aware and informed of whats being pitched.

Rae - I'm never happy unless I watch the Princess Bride regularly. ha!

Heiko said...

The trouble is that politicians always want to convince you that the economy needs to grow. And for it to grow forever they either have to make stuff that breaks quicker or sell yous stuff you didn't even know you needed...

Kat said...

Princess Bride is an amazing movie.

As for marketing I actually had to take a course for college credit on marketing. Really changed how I looked at the world. The part that scares me is that even the news people are guilty of marketing.

Chai Chai said...

Without advertising how will we know what to buy?

Buttercup: We'll never survive.

Westley: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.

Unknown said...

I think we are only "victims" if we choose to be and we passively consume media, "food", technology, or other products at our own peril (and others' profit). Becoming an informed, intelligent, and discerning consumer is key. Cultivate a healthy level of skepticism and seek out alternative sources of information. This doesn't mean you're "cynical", it means you're not stupid!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Heiko.. great observation, as always... you'd think folks would look at the past, huh?

hi Kat! i bet you are glad you took those classes... i agree, it changes the way you look at things. i'm always seeing marketing "tricks" so i find it odd when folks "fall" for them.

Chai Chai.. now if the Fire Swamp had better marketing they'd be selling condos and time shares left and right!

Tony, thanks so much for posting such great articles! This one was a hit for sure. And... all excellent points... no one would be a passenger in their life. Or just passively accept whats being fed to them - literally and figuratively. Keep up the great work!

Damummis said...

#1 reason I don't have a TV~
"Wait, what? You don't have a TV?"

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