How marketing pulled off the crime of the century (part 2) by making everybody greedy and stupid.
I went on a marketing type seminar recently, to see if anything had changed so I could report back to you. It hasn’t. Here is the tried and tested formula that Marketing is still using in order to keep us all dumbed down … so we don’t accidentally start a revolution of creativity.
The 7 secrets to selling (they’re not so secret but you can never get enough of bullet points and alliteration)
- In order to sell stuff to people who already have enough stuff, you have to engage emotion and fantasy.
- Most people are angry, frustrated or sad about something. In order to sell to them you must increase all these things. Paint a vivid picture of how broke, sad and unfulfilled they are. THEY MUST BE IN A LOT OF PAIN.
- Fashion a powerful image of these same people as rich, successful and popular. Increase the pleasure. In this image THEY MUST BE HAVING A LOT OF FUN.
- Make the contrast as vivid as possible.
- Imply that this transformation from pain to pleasure can come about via an external source — a fairy Godmother, a magic wand or… (drum roll) THE VERY THING YOU WANT TO SELL THEM!
- Relegate any information about a requirement for personal involvement in this transformation process to the very small print. Words like Hard work, commitment or discipline should not feature. If you use highfalutin words like Exclusive, Elite and Mastery, you can charge more — it’s just like Scrabble really.
- Rebrand this search for transformation as a Noble Spiritual Quest. Holy Grails don’t come cheap.
It’s easy to see how we have become infantilized. We’ve been drinking this Kool-Aid for way too long. And now, like hungry and confused children who refuse to grow up, we’re longing for Mom and Dad to come back and sort out the mess we’ve made of life. Remember when Mom and Dad fixed all your problems for you?
Moms made pain go away. Dads made everything fun.
Mom is Bernie Sanders. “Those bullies did what do you?” (Image of Mom grabbing coat and marching into Wall Street School to complain).
Dad is Donald Trump. Monsters under the bed? I’ll bomb the shit out of them. Other kids want you to share your toys? I’ll build a wall so Goddamn high…” “I’m going to make everything great again. You’re gonna be SO happy. (Image of Dad closing bedroom door “Shhh… she’s sound asleep.”)
The only intelligent response to these statements would be… How? The actual response? Cool! Now I can go back to consuming more stuff.
The clock is ticking for humanity and it’s time to wake up, grow up and break the spells we are under.
As we go further into the internet age, everything is speeding up. The amount of information coming at us — is getting bigger and getting faster. It’s a bit like the arcade game of Asteroids. You shoot the big asteroid and it breaks in two. Then 2 bits become 4. 4 become 8. At this point, the game is quite fun to play.
Unless 8 suddenly becomes 256. Holy fuck! Freak out. Meltdown. Overwhelm.
This is what it’s like dealing with the digital onslaught. We’re struggling and confused. A lot of us aren’t having much fun any more. There are only two solutions to this.
- Stop playing the game. “Mom, Dad, take this away. I want my old toys back”.
- Grow a new, better brain that can deal with speed, chaos and complexity.
After all, we’ve done it before. We went from a reptilian brain to a mammalian brain to a neo cortex. Each time we had to lose something in order to achieve the upgrade. Upgrades are never free. I have a feeling this next one will cost us…
Our sense of entitlement.
Our mad narcissism.
But above all…
Our fear of growing up.
Marketing is clever, but not that clever. It’s powerful because it taps into the psychology of our lower nature. Our base, un-evolved, self-centred nature. Market forces are (currently) formed from the energies of Fear, Laziness, Lust, Envy and Greed.
When people say “why are we buying so many…(guns, weight loss pills, porn, celebrity magazines, get rich quick schemes)” or “why is Donald Trump so popular?” you don’t have to look far for the reason. You just have to look back.
HOWEVER there is a force greater than market forces.
And that force is love.