Saturday, July 24, 2010


I haven’t unwillingly seen an advertisement on the internet for about 3 or so years now. I don’t watch tv, so every commercial that you’ve seen a few dozen times and you think is hilarious is totally foreign to me. Possibly the most visual advertisement I’ve consumed these days is from the out of doors, or movie advertisements. I heard a few on the radio at mcdonalds, too. Sometimes I read coupon books, which are a form of advertising, I suppose. Sometimes magazine ads. Newspaper ads, definitely.

Though, I think avoiding the ubiquitous tv and internet ads is probably the most effective at cutting down the amount of detritus I end up seeing. I was in a marketing class in high school. I was actually ina marketing organization called DECA, which stands for something totally irrelevant and misleading and I’ve forgotten what. It’s an association of (ta-dah!) marketing students. It was an interesting class. About half of the time it was covering various aspects of advertisement and marketing, the other half it was being marketed or advertised to by some school or other. We learned all about the color associations, how to write interesting copy, how not to write too much copy, how to make an advertisement, how to pitch a product or a concept to someone, and how to speak publicly and write speeches. It was a nice experience but a constant reminder that Marketing as an institution is vapid as all hell , and the people who study it are some of the least creative people on the planet. Pretty much every concept in marketing is ripped off of someone or somewhere else (most notably psychology or aesthetics) and twisted around and used to sell a product.

Marketers are lucky, though. They have some of the coolest jobs in the corporate world. They get to organize all the badass events and plan all sorts of crazy fun things that are sponsored by their company under the assumption that marketing is a necessary expense. So many of them are overpaid and underworked and get to have a rollicking time, all on their corporation’s budget. Hiring a marketing team is a hilariously double-edged sword because you’re hiring experts at selling a thing to sell your thing, but they are busy selling themselves as being experts and capable and worthy of the money you’re giving them first and before they sell your product. This is why 90% of advertising is shitty and forgettable. Because marketers themselves are shitty and forgettable people with a great ability to seem more important and more valuable than they are.

I am constantly shocked and amazed at the sheer amount of money poured into these advertising budgets because they have little to no relation to the reality of consumer purchasing. Advertisers like to claim that much of a well known and well loved product is due to its sheer ubiquity in advertisement; People buy coke because they hear about it and see it all the time. This may have been true in the early years of coke when no one knew what it was, but coke is such a strong and thoroughly ingrained brand in american life that it could shamble on more or less just as well as it has if coke decided to cease all advertising activities. People grow up being given coke as a kid these days. It’s an essential part of their lifestyle. If a child was raised in a strange backwards country where they drank nothing but off brand beverages or supermarket brand beverages, then they may prefer that instead. But coke is available everywhere pretty much all the time. There is no way to avoid it as a child, unless your parents are determined to raise you without it. My point is, sheer branding is far more successful and long lasting than any silly CGI commercial depicting bugs flipping the fuck out when they get ahold of some coke. It’s silly and unnecessary and expensive and stupid.

But it pays the bills. Damn, it pays a lot of bills. Marketers are very highly paid. Much better than I am. Or ever will be, to be honest. Even if I manage to become a professor or something, I will not be paid as highly as the guys who invent little jingles and campaigns to get people to buy dodge trucks or car insurance or whatever the fuck. They are also paid better than you are, unless you’re on your way to an overpaid engineering position or a similar marketing job. All the scientists and researchers in the world can’t measure up to the private sector. The thing is, it’s just money. And money is a physical thing. And you are a person with the free agency to take that money. So why not? Start hunting down people who are grossly overpaid for their terrible products. Hunt them down and kill them and take their money.

Well, not really, I just wanted to end on an action note, it being one of the things I learned from that class. I need to advise action in my speech because otherwise it’s just a rant. Then I summarize the problem again. Marketers are uncreative and worthless people who are paid solely based on their ability to seem more valuable than they are. This is unjust. Unjustice needs to be balanced by justice. Frontier justice.

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