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Is advertising and marketing evil?

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Is advertising and marketing evil? Empty Is advertising and marketing evil?

Post Neon Knight on Thu 7 Nov - 22:22  Quoting:

Marketers use many psychological ploys to make you buy what you shouldn't.

Yes, sometimes, marketing is a worthy activity. For example, marketing people can help a company develop a more useful product. Also, marketing can help potential customers learn about a new product that's worth considering. But more often, marketing attempts to manipulate you into spending on something that, if you considered all the relevant factors, you wouldn't spend on. And that’s dangerous. For example, buying products you wouldn’t have bought is money you would have saved, spent on wiser purchases, or donated to charity.

As dangerous, buying something sub-optimal based on marketing’s having identified and played on your hot buttons diverts you from considering all the key factors . . .

Marketing is heavily used to make people buy more expensive products that in fact perform worse or no better, for example, Cartier watches, Liberty Mutual Insurance, T.Rowe Price Investments, and yes, luxury cars. That imposes a significant decrement to a person’s financial security. Too, it can help cause people to choose a less pleasant job to afford stuff that actually is worse . . .

Unless a company has a clearly superior product, the firm's advertising tends to avoid the product's substance and, instead, creates an image - sizzle not steak. So, for example, marketing converts commodity products into branded ones, thereby increasing the price dramatically with little or no improvement in quality. Generic aspirin costs less than a penny per pill while the pharmacologically identical, equally FDA approved Bayer aspirin costs 700% more . . .

Marketing uses a wealth of other tactics to manipulate you, for example, celebrity endorsements. For example, the Hillary Clinton campaign paid performers who were popular among swing voters: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Tony Bennett all got checks. Does such marketing help us choose a better president?

And companies use celebrity endorsements to cover up poor value or a product that’s inferior to the competition. For example, T-Mobile paid Catherine Zeta-Jones $20 million to push that 2nd-tier carrier. Angelina Jolie, supposed advocate for The People, didn’t turn down $30 million to flak the absurdly priced Louis Vuitton products. Another activist, Beyonce, took $50 million to flog sugar-loaded Pepsi, which hurts the health of the very people she insists she cares so much about. 50-Cent took $80 million from Reebok and LeBron James took $90 million and David Beckham $160 million from Nike to convince people to spend $100 to $200 on brand-name sneakers when you can be as good an athlete with no-name athletic shoes from Wal-Mart or Target for under $20. Thus, the vulnerable, disproportionately the poor, indirectly are paying the stars millions and add to corporate coffers to get products that are little better and maybe worse than products that don't incorporate a fortune in marketing dollars into their price.

Indeed, advertisers focus efforts on those least likely to make thoughtful buying decisions. That’s why they use, for example, Budweiser's Spuds McKenzie, the Geico gecko, and Taco Bell chihuahua. Similarly, companies prey on innocent children with ads to get kids to, for example, eat sugary, artificially flavored, artificially colored cereals. Apart from children’s products, walk the supermarket aisles: the expensive processed foods are more likely to be in bright-colored packaging. No coincidence. Sometimes, items are priced high merely to create the illusion of superiority. For example, I recall a not-very-selective college—I believe it was Bennington—deliberately pricing itself to be the nation’s most expensive because it felt that would give the college cachet.

Another marketing ploy designed to get people to part with more money without getting commensurate value is to offer three products of a specific type, two of which they don’t expect people to buy: a cheap but clearly inferior one, a very expensive one, and a wildly expensive one  That makes consumers feel they’re being wise in choosing the middle one even though it offers worse value per dollar than its juxtaposition implies . . .

Branding gives marketers yet more ways to distract the consumer from buying rationally: product name, logo, slogan, packaging design, and sponsorships. Branding is designed to create an irrational memory structure for broadbrush liking a company’s products apart from merit, for example, Harley Davidson versus more reliable motorcycles such as Honda . . .

Showing similar disregard for people’s health, marketing focuses heavily on liquor and tobacco. Cigarettes are the most heavily advertised product in the U.S. The tobacco companies spend $4 billion a year or $11 million a day to try to get people to smoke cigarettes. And soon, Big Tobacco will likely unleash their marketing manipulations to get more people to smoke pot.

Living in Napa, I’ve paid particular attention to the wine industry. It lives on marketing because in blind tastings, even expert ratings diverge wildly from each other. In one study, world-class wine experts blind-tasted two wines. As usual, the ratings were all over the map. But what was amazing was that the two bottles were the same wine! . . Marketing is about getting you to spend five,10, even 50 times(!) more on a bottle of wine than Two-Buck Chuck.

Marketers will even unleash their manipulations on sick people. Drug companies in 2015 spent a record $5.2 billion on marketing, passed along to us, to get us to ask our doctor to prescribe patented drugs that are less proven and much more expensive than out-of-patent generic drugs.

Of course, part of marketing is sales. Armies of salespeople are paid good salaries and given extensive training on tactics to get people to buy more. And most are paid on commission, which incents them to do whatever to get people to buy.

Nonprofits aren't immune from using marketing tactics. Fundraisers receive extensive training on the art and science of extracting maximum dollars from people. And nonprofits use children and animals to suck out the dollars . . . That does an excellent job of distracting us from questions that would lead us to wisely allocate our charity dollars . . .

None of the above asserts that marketers are using out-and-out deception. Alas, they too often do. In a TIME article, I listed all the deceptions in the commercials during a mere one hour on CNN, a station that attracts consumers that are above average in sophistication. Commercials and ads that attract a less sophisticated audience are likely even worse, although that’s difficult to imagine.

In short, yes, a company trying to develop a more useful product or [that] has a new such product needs to market it, and those are worthy activities. But most marketing impedes rational decision-making and, in turn, makes the world worse. Or, in other words, most marketing is evil.

Is advertising and marketing evil? Englan11

Between the velvet lies, there's a truth that's hard as steel
The vision never dies, life's a never ending wheel
- R.J.Dio
Neon Knight
Neon Knight
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