Saturday, March 14, 2009

we're all targets

as i sit here munching my delicious soy crisps (creamy ranch flavor) i find myself contemplating what even made me decide to buy soy crisps in the first place.

they are quite tasty, but the very first time i bought them, i had no previous experience with soy in a snack-chip form and really had no idea what to expect. so how did they make that monstrous leap from grocery store shelf to my shopping cart, and ultimately into that tender spot in my heart reserved for my favorite snacky treats?

the obvious answer is the right one in this case, marketing.

the white bag with fresh-looking green leaves and branches flowing beneath the title 'nature's promise', the organic brand stocked at my local food market, was designed with just that very purpose in mind. and it worked.

i looked the bag over, compared price and ingredients to the brand name rice cakes tempting me from the next shelf. the soy crisps were less than half the price and lower in sodium, and after all, nature DID promise that they were 'all natural' and 'cholesterol free.' but this investigative shopping would never had occurred had i not been attracted to the outside of the bag.

this train of thought prompts me to think about the people who earn a living conceptualizing and creating the many advertisements we are all exposed to in our daily lives. how much money must have been invested for such firms to specifically target buyers for their products? how much time is spent making each item appear unique, and do so in a way convincing enough to make the average consumer part with his hard-earned cash for something new compared to something predictable?

it may be safe to say that as long as the marketing works, it pays for itself. everyone makes a profit and i enjoy my soy crisps guilt free.

but what about when advertising backfires? who looses out? is the public deprived of a great product because of poor marketing? or it is a form of capitalist natural selection, only the strong survive?

i'd like to believe that our population of consumers would, on average, as a whole, support businesses/companies worthy of our dollar. but then i find things like this. did you read the product description? only about two sentences in and it has already become completely elitist and exclusive to most americans. someone, somewhere, got paid to write that, and people are buying into it.

the more i ponder why someone would actually buy anything that so unabashedly targets a certain lifestyle, thus perpetuating classist notions and ideals, the more it becomes clear to me that this advertising tactic is enormously successful.

this company will not only make their product appealing to those overtly aimed for, but also for the many who strive to be thought of as existing in that category.

and so i give up. i cannot win a battle of etiquette with advertisers. they exist solely to make us take notice. often it's the more outlandish messages, subtle or not, that we talk about the most.

1 comment:

Kristine said...

I so hear you on this. I recently bought some "low sugar" cereal or something and when I looked more closely at home, I realized that their serving size was less than competitors, thereby reducing the amount of reported sugar.