Now I am appreciably older, comfortably well off, seemingly equipped with everything I want, and amazingly annoyed by the inescapable presence of marketing/sales. Granted that I am not a typical consumer, but I am finding it insulting to have postcards trying to get me to subscribe to magazines drop out of magazines I already subscribe to, seemingly every store I enter trying to get me to join their “club”, endless attempts to get me to fill out surveys so that they have more information on me, and a world blanketed with advertisements everywhere I look and awash in commercials in all media I enter.
I know what I want/need, and resent people trying to add to the list or alter my choices. Do they think they know more about me than I do? I find the self-marketing attitude of many internet addicts somewhat obnoxious (even though I admit I was talked into social networking by my publisher, who told me that otherwise no one would notice my Good Products Bad Products book). I wonder at my wife’s daily ritual of rapidly going through our surface mail while standing over the re-cycling barrel, trying to avoid throwing something important away with the overwhelming majority of marketing-oriented junk.
Is there no end to this? I realize that we humans seem to love “deals”, and that it is possible to show that this marketing “works”. The recent trauma that J.C. Penney went through in seeking to move from hundreds of sales per year to constant lower prices (which I thought made great sense) resulted in a huge backlash and the resignation of its president after only eight months in office. So I was wrong. Of course an organization called One Million Moms turned against the company for using Ellen De Generes as a spokesperson. Not being one of the Million Moms, I can’t claim any insight on that one.
And of course, look at our ability to create “celebrities”, political campaigns, and national propaganda.
But how much does this constantly increasingly sophisticated and wide-spread marketing/sales actually benefit us and the economy? It definitely makes jobs, but is the noise it creates perhaps greater than the good it accomplishes?
I find myself avoiding products and being against people whose marketing interferes with the quality of my life, whether through producing billboards that mar beautiful country or attractive buildings, commercials that interrupt things I am interested in, messages repeated so constantly that I assume someone thinks I am so stupid I don’t understand them, junk mail, internet ads, phone calls that are unerringly synchronized with my meals, questionnaires, coupons, clubs, and other tools intended to influence me in ways the producers of goods and services think are positive.
I want good stuff, and can’t clearly see the correlation between the quality of the marketing effort and the quality of the product or person being marketed. I wish we would just produce outstanding choices and let me choose!